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Australia bins $9.6 billion every year

RaboDirect reveals who's winning the war on waste in Australia.

  • The average household wastes 14% of food costing $1,050 a year
  • Victorians and Gen Y waste the most
  • Knowledge a key driver in reducing food waste
24 October 2017: New research released today from RaboDirect reveals that Australians are wasting a collective $9.6 billion on food each year. 

The RaboDirect 2017 Food & Farming Report shows Aussies waste on average 14 per cent of their weekly grocery buy, equating to over $1050 each year. 

The Report also found that while 9 in 10 Australian households waste food every week, 53 per cent consider themselves ethically conscious consumers and 77 per cent care about changing their waste habits.

The Report, part of RaboDirect’s annual Financial Health Barometer, aims to shine a light on the issue of food waste in Australia and to help educate consumers on reducing waste, while saving dollars in the process.

Who’s winning the war on waste?
The research found that city dwellers 16 per cent of food bought each week, which drops to 10 per cent for those in regional areas. Across the country, Victorians knocked NSW off prime position this year as the state with the most people who waste more than 20 per cent of their grocery shop:
  • Victoria (19 per cent)
  • New South Wales (16 per cent)
  • South Australia (13 per cent)
  • West Australia (13 per cent)
  • Northern Territory (12 per cent) 
  • Tasmania (4 per cent) 
Generationally, Baby Boomers (7 per cent) remain least wasteful, with Gen Y (20 per cent) demonstrating more wasteful actions than Gen Z (18 per cent) or Gen X (11 per cent).

The Report also reveals some of the habits contributing to food waste in Australia: 
  • 43 per cent buy too much food
  • 82 per cent of people who waste food indicate that food goes off before they can finish it
  • 28 per cent never eat food past its ‘best before’ date 
  • 10 per cent won’t use leftovers
Bede Cronin, Head of RaboDirect, said: “The results of the RaboDirect Food and Farming Report demonstrate that food waste is still an issue in Australia. Positively, it also shows that Australians can make a few small changes to everyday habits, such as using leftovers for lunches through the week and making sure you plan your meals before going shopping, which will help to reduce food waste and also save you a few dollars.  

“Those additional dollars could be better spent on that end of year holiday, Christmas presents for family or friends, or even put into a high-interest savings account to save for something special,” he said. 

A growing trend: Support of Australian farmers

While food waste habits in Australia need improvement, the Report shows that the intentions of consumers are good, with results showing a growing support for Australian farmers and local produce: 
  • 80 per cent believe in the importance of farmers for the wellbeing of the nation
  • 66 per cent prefer to buy local produce and support local growers and are happy to pay more for it
  • 86 per cent of Australians are concerned that fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets due to imperfections
The Report also highlights that knowledge is a key driver in reducing food waste, with 15 per cent of those indicating they know hardly anything about food and farming production wasting more than 20 per cent compared to 11 per cent of those who know a little bit. 

Across the generations, only 23 per cent of Gen X and 29 per cent of Gen Y believe they know quite a bit about farming and food production, while 39 per cent of Baby Boomers say they understand what’s involved with the process. 

Mr Cronin said, “As the Australian population rapidly expands, the demand for food closely follows. RaboDirect and Rabobank work to support local Australian farmers to meet the growing needs of the population in a sustainable way, through providing finance, knowledge and networks to the farming industry in Australia. 

“Food sustainably is not only an issue for farmers; it impacts us all. The Food & Farming Report sheds light on the importance of food and farming to Australia’s future and the role that we all play in ensuring the security of our food production for generations to come.”

Top tips

The 2017 Report highlights some top tips to reduce waste and support Australian farmers:

1. Purchase ‘imperfect’ fruits and vegetables at the grocery store and place them directly in the trolley rather than using multiple plastic bags. You’ll save money and the environment.
2. Make one night a week ‘leftovers night’ and get creative with your food waste. Aim to save $20 a week on the food you would have bought, depositing the additional cash into your high interest savings account. 
3. Consider where you spend your hard earned money; shop at your local farmers market and read the labels on food for Australian and local products. Your dollar can go along way to supporting Australia’s farmers and food sustainability, if you invest in the right places!

The full RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer Food & Farming Report including more statistics and segmented data can be downloaded here.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact DEC PR 
Rabodirect@decpr.com.au  
02 8014 5033 

The RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer 
As part of the annual RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer, RaboDirect surveyed 2,300 Australians, aged between 18 and 65, about their attitudes towards food and waste, savings and debt, as well as farming and resources. 

For seven years, the RaboDirect Financial Health Barometer has delivered a comprehensive overview of the nation’s attitude towards savings and debt; taking the pulse of how financially prepared Australians are as well as the affect juggling finances has on our wellbeing. 

The survey is conducted in order to empower Aussies to better understand and improve their financial situation by arming them with insights into how they can save more effectively. 

About RaboDirect 
RaboDirect is the online savings arm launched by Rabobank Australia Limited in 2007. As savings specialists, RaboDirect is passionate about helping customers achieve their savings goals, through a range of high interest savings accounts and competitive term deposits. 

RaboDirect is a division of Rabobank Australia Limited, part of the Rabobank Group, one of the world's leading specialists in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 115 years' experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agriculture business. 

About Rabobank 
Once or twice a year you may need a doctor or a plumber but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer. Rabobank is the premier lender to the world’s food and agriculture industry and has a strong presence in Australia. Rabobank provides loans to Australian farmers, and every dollar saved with RaboDirect helps fund these loans, which contributes to the growth and development of food and agriculture business within Australia.