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Don't give the gift of food to landfill this festive season

Category sustainability food-waste

It's that time of year again, the mad dash towards the end of the year with decorating, shopping and cooking! Connecting with friends and family over food is an annual tradition come the festive and holiday season, but we don’t often think about the amount of leftovers that end up in the bin.

We're starting #RaboTipTuesdays to help raise awareness of food waste with a few sustainable tips to help you save money and reduce what ends up in the landfill.

The Rabobank-KiwiHarvest Food Waste Research revealed a number of insights into our behaviour, thoughts and feelings about food waste behaviour, in particular towards spending money and acting more sustainably:

  • Fruit and vegetables are the most likely food to be wasted by New Zealanders, making up around two-thirds of all food waste.
  • Bread accounts for more than a quarter of all binned food by itself.
  • Food that went off before it could be eaten was the key reason for food waste.
  • Other food waste reasons included it going off before the use by or best before date, and food not tasting as good as expected.
  • Cost continued to be New Zealanders’ most significant food waste concern, with an estimated price per household of $1,259 per year.
  • More than three quarters of respondents had 'feelings of guilt that there are people around New Zealand going without', while a further 30 per cent cited guilt about ‘people starving around the world’.
  • New Zealanders noted their concern about the wasted effort of farmers in New Zealand and overseas and their own wasted effort to buy and prepare food that doesn’t get eaten.
  • New Zealanders are now more open to purchasing imperfect-looking fruit and vegetable, compared to 2019. Local supermarkets and farmers markets are also increasing their sale of them.

Infographic: Things are looking up for imperfect Fruit and Vege

Blake Holgate, Rabobank’s Head of Sustainable Business Development, explained that the research identified significant differences in food waste behaviours across age demographics.

“Older Kiwis were found to be much more likely than younger generations to be practicing household food behaviours that reduce food waste. And, as you’d expect, this translates through to older generations having a lower percentage of their household food spend wasted.”

“The research found Baby Boomers estimate they throw away just five per cent of their household food spend with Gen X not far behind at six per cent. Then comes a sizeable jump to Gen Y at 12 per cent with Gen Z estimating they waste the largest proportion of food spend at 16 per cent.”

With Gen Y and Z wasting a much higher proportion of food spend than other age groups, improving younger New Zealanders’ knowledge of food waste will continue to be a key focus for Rabobank's efforts to address the broader issue, Mr Holgate said.

“The survey found younger New Zealanders view climate change and the sustainability of natural resources as key long term concerns – with both Gen Y and Z ranking these as their second and third biggest concerns over the next 10 years.”

We’ll be sharing some weekly tips as part of #RaboTipTuesday, so keep an eye out (on our social channels) for more ideas.

Read the full Food Waste Survey.