Kiwis waste $1.8b of food a year
Renali Narayan would throw out cucumbers, rice, and whole heads of lettuce and broccoli before she realised the damage she was doing.
‘‘When I heard the amount of carbon dioxide emissions being released from organics I flipped,’’ she said.
‘‘It sucks that people aren’t getting that connection, but it takes time. I’m saving money because I buy in bulk and get all my organics from farmers markets on the weekend.’’
The 20-year-old Auckland University student now saves $100 a week on food and has her whole flat on board. But she’s a rare find.
A RaboDirect survey found New Zealanders are throwing away almost $2 billion of food a year, with younger people more likely to waste food than their parents.
‘‘I would throw out everything and anything before I turned zero waste. The rate we were throwing food out was ridiculous,’’ Narayan said.
The survey of 1003 people found almost 80 per cent of people said they did not like to waste food but 94 per cent did anyway, with an average of $1071 worth of food per household wasted each year.
This added up to $1.8b a year. Those who were young and ate out were more wasteful in all areas of life.
Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Daryl Johnson said lifestyle and age played a role in food budgeting.
‘‘It’s often presumed that younger generations are more environmentally conscious, and therefore conscious of wastage.
‘‘However, the survey found younger generations were more likely to eat out, were cooking meals from scratch less often, and were less likely to eat leftovers, compared with the older generations.’’
Millennials wasted the most food (15 per cent), and baby boomers wasted the least (8 per cent).
Millennials also underestimated the scale of New Zealand’s food waste the most.
Love Food Hate Waste spokeswoman Jenny Marshall said food waste awareness had grown.
‘‘It’s clear that Kiwis now recognise the scale of their own contribution, but until we repeat our bin audit research in 2019 it won’t be clear if this increased awareness of food waste has led to behaviour change,’’ she said.
The survey found 33 per cent of New Zealanders always plan meals in advance, and 22 per cent freeze leftovers.