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.

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