Ki­wis wast­ing $1.8b of food ev­ery year

Re­search finds 94% of New Zealan­ders waste what they should be eat­ing

The New Zealand Herald - - BUSINESS - Aimee Shaw aimee.shaw@nzher­ald.co.nz

New re­search re­veals Ki­wis waste a stag­ger­ing $1.8 bil­lion of food ev­ery year — an eighth of what they buy each week. Find­ings sug­gest those who eat out more than three times a week are the most likely to waste food — 21 per cent of the food they pur­chase.

The re­search, com­mis­sioned by a di­vi­sion of ru­ral bank and agri­cul­tural farm fi­nance firm Rabobank New Zealand, found 94 per cent of all Ki­wis wasted food, de­spite 79 per cent ad­mit­ting they do not like to.

Rabobank New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Daryl John­son said Ki­wis were sig­nif­i­cantly un­der­es­ti­mat­ing how much food they were wast­ing, and the fi­nan­cial cost.

“New Zealan­ders are very aware of food waste on an in­di­vid­ual level, but are less aware of the big­ger im­pact,” John­son said.

“Seventy per cent of Ki­wis un­der­es­ti­mate how much we waste as a na­tion, which cur­rently equates to 122,547 tonnes.” That’s the equiv­a­lent of 350 Boe­ing 747 jumbo jets, or 29kg per per­son.

Rabobank re­cently an­nounced the Kick­start Food global ac­ti­va­tion pro- gramme to ac­cel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to a sus­tain­able world food sup­ply.

“The de­mand for food is set to rise con­sid­er­ably as a con­se­quence of a grow­ing and wealth­ier global pop­u­la­tion, with the world pop­u­la­tion fore­cast to in­crease by two bil­lion peo­ple to more than nine bil­lion by 2050.

“To meet this de­mand, world food pro­duc­tion will have to in­crease by at least 60 per cent, while at the same time arable land and nat­u­ral re­sources are near­ing their lim­its,” John­son said.

“On a global scale, part of the so­lu­tion to this chal­lenge is to re­duce wastage so that the food that we al­ready pro­duce reaches where it is needed.”

The lead­ing con­trib­u­tor to food waste — 55 per cent — was food go­ing off be­fore be­ing eaten, re­search showed. Fif­teen per cent was found to be from un­fin­ished food on our plates and 7 per cent was food not tast­ing as good as ex­pected.

“Farm­ers and agribusi­nesses work hard to pro­duce what is among the best food in the world, and we need to do more to en­sure it is not thrown away,” John­son said.

Jenny Mar­shall of Love Food Hate Waste, an or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion to help Ki­wis cut wastage, said over­all 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,” Mar­shall said.

The sur­vey found mil­len­ni­als wasted the most food, while Baby Boomers wasted the least.

Mil­len­ni­als were also the gen­er­a­tion that most un­der­es­ti­mated the scale of New Zealand’s an­nual food wastage, re­search sug­gested.

“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; all be­hav­iours that are likely to con­trib­ute to the in­creased rate of food wastage amongst these age groups,” John­son said.

An av­er­age 16.8 per cent of New Zealand house­hold spend­ing goes to­wards food.

“Mak­ing sav­ings in this area could sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact both in­di­vid­ual house­holds and col­lec­tively on food wastage as a na­tion.”

Pic­ture / File

As a na­tion, New Zealand wastes 122,547 tonnes of food ev­ery year, re­search shows.

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