Food waste is a global issue that has significant consequences for both the environment and the economy. In Australia, the problem of food waste is particularly pronounced, with over 7.3 million tonnes of food wasted in 2016-2017 alone.[1]

 This waste is not only costly to farmers, who lose out on an estimated A$2.8 billion each year, but also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 3% of the country’s emissions annually.[2]

 One of the primary sources of food waste in Australia is the farming industry, where up to 25% of fruit and vegetables never leave the farm due to various reasons such as overproduction, cosmetic imperfections, and transportation difficulties.[3] This wastage not only results in financial losses for farmers but also impacts the environment as these products often end up in landfills, producing methane gas as they decompose.

 In addition to the farming industry, food waste also occurs at various other stages of the supply chain such as transportation, retail, and consumer levels. At the retail level, food products that are close to or have exceeded their expiry dates are often discarded, even though they may still be safe to consume. Consumers also contribute to food waste, often purchasing more food than they need or not properly storing or using leftovers.

 To tackle the issue of food waste in Australia, a multi-faceted approach is needed. One such approach is to adopt more sustainable farming practices, such as using precision agriculture and reducing overproduction. Additionally, improving supply chain management, such as reducing the amount of time that food spends outside of refrigerated environments, and increasing the use of monitoring and reporting technologies, can help reduce waste.

 Consumers also have a role to play in reducing food waste. This can be achieved by shopping smarter, planning meals, and storing food properly. By reducing the amount of food they waste, consumers can help save money, protect the environment, and ensure that food resources are being used efficiently.

 Finally, food waste in Australia is a pressing issue with significant environmental and economic consequences. By implementing innovative approaches such as sustainable farming practices, improved supply chain management, and responsible consumer behaviour, we can work towards reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable future.