Food Waste Findings | 2020 Financial Health Barometer
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Dont be a waster

Aussies are still wasting food

Food waste is a growing concern in Australia. The total annual spend on food waste this year has hit a whopping $10.3 billion dollars!

At Rabobank, we want to help you waste less and save more, so we are committed to helping Aussies to not only reduce their household waste but understand how food gets from farm to fork.

Our Food Waste Infographic and Food For Thought Video show the impact of food waste on the environment and your hip pocket, and how you can make simple changes to help create a more sustainable future.


The findings

Food Waste

It’s time to get back on track!

Our 2020 Food Waste report shows that Australians were making positive inroads to reducing food waste before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, with food waste dropping almost two percentage points from an average of 12.9% of food purchased in 2019 to 11.1% in early 2020.

Aussies are now wasting 12.7% of their weekly grocery shop, costing the average Australian household an all-time high $1,043 per year and totalling $10.3 billion nationally.

Food Waste

What’s causing us to waste more this year?

The main reasons for food waste are: it goes off before we can finish it (35%), it’s hiding somewhere in the fridge and we’ve forgotten we bought it (29%) and not planning sufficiently (22%).

Of the people who wasted more during COVID, their reasons for increased food waste include:

  • 46% say it is because they are cooking at home more often,
  • 37% say it’s because they’re experimenting more with recipes and baking,
  • 28% say it’s because they are buying more food,
  • 23% say it’s because they’re ordering takeaway / home delivery more frequently, and
  • 21% say it’s because they are buying brands and food items that they are less familiar with.

Food Waste

Changes to habits during COVID-19

The research shows that nearly one quarter (24%) of people spent more on food due to COVID-19.

Taking a look at the average weekly spend on food, across the generations:

  • Gen Z spent the least on food, at $140 a week
  • Gen Y spent $156 a week
  • Gen X spent the most, at $181 a week
  • Baby Boomers spent $143 a week

Interestingly, people in the city spend $157 per week, while people in regional areas spend $163 per week, and people in rural areas spend $157 per week. Men spend slightly more ($163) than women ($153) and 18% of the population now buys their groceries online (up from 12% pre-pandemic).

During the peak of the pandemic, the research shows 10% of people spent more on food to stockpile items in case supply ran out, with Gen Y and Gen X most likely to do so.

Food Waste

How can you make a difference?

Here’s some simple things you can do today to make a big change for everyone’s tomorrow:

  • Plan your meals for the week before you shop online and factor in the takeaway nights.
  • Consider having leftovers as a meal the next day.
  • Always shop with a list to ensure you don’t buy things you don’t need.
  • Freeze your excess food so it doesn’t have to go to waste and think about how and when you can use the excess food in your panty and freezer.
  • Think about your portion sizes and the number of servings required when preparing meals.
  • Remember to also check your cupboards and the use by dates on packages to ensure you’re using what you have.

2019 Food Waste Report Launch


Curious about previous Food Waste findings?


The 2020 Rabobank Food Waste Report is part of Rabobank’s annual Financial Health Barometer (FHB), surveying over 2,395 financial decision makers aged between 18 and 65. The survey now in its tenth year polls attitudes and behaviours towards saving, debt, farming, food production and food waste. Results are weighted by gender, age and location according to statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Two surveys were undertaken this year, one pre-pandemic before COVID-19 restrictions set in, in March 2020, and the other as much of Australia began to emerge from the height of restrictions in September 2020, allowing for comparison of results and changes in behaviours.

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