New research shows beef, bread, cheese, and salad top Australian households most wasted food list | Fight Food Waste CRC
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Beef, bread, cheese, and salad top Australian households most wasted food list

New research by the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (FFW CRC) shows beef, bread, cheese, and salad are the most thrown out foods in Australian kitchens. The study is the largest investigation ever undertaken in Australia, using data from multiple sources to determine the how, why and where of food waste in Australian homes.

FFW CRC Chief Executive Officer Dr Steven Lapidge said the researchers used on-line surveys, electronic kitchen diaries, audits of kerb side bins and focus groups to understand what is really happening. The study shows that while most of us think we don’t waste food, we do, and we waste a lot. The average household throws away 219 kg of food a year. That adds up to an average of $965 per person per year – enough for a holiday!

Dr Lapidge said “Looking into people’s bins as well as their minds identified not knowing what to do with leftovers is a major problem in Australia. Further, young people and families with children are likely to waste the most”.

The study shows there’s a lot of misunderstanding about food waste and a lack of knowledge about what to do. That’s good news for those of us working to reduce waste because by sharing what we know about reducing food waste we can help everyone do something about it. Dr Lapidge said, “The research provides a detailed analysis of why people waste food, the challenges and barriers for them to reduce it as well as the foods and behaviours that can be prioritised to meet the Australian Government’s goal to halve food waste by 2030”.

He said, “A pleasing 93 per cent of people over 75 regularly use up the oldest ingredient first and translating that knowledge to young people would have a big impact on what they throw away”.

Other priority areas for action include:

  • Check what is already in the fridge, freezer and pantry before shopping and take a ‘shelfie’ – so you can check what you have back home whilst out shopping.
  • Only buy what is on the shopping list.
  • Move the oldest food items to the front of the fridge so they can be used first – and then use them first!
  • Read the storage instructions provided on the packages – and then store food properly.

This study is part of the ‘Designing effective interventions to reduce household food waste’ research project. It is managed by the FFWCRC, with support from State and Territory governments, industry and food rescue charities.

The research summary and five supporting data reports were published today and are available on our project page here


The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre was launched in July 2018, and brings together industry, research and the community to capitalise on Australia’s food waste opportunities. Winning this fight can save Australia $20 billion per annum in wasted food. Through its three research and development programs, the Fight Food Waste CRC will ENGAGE with industry and consumers to REDUCE food waste across the supply chain and TRANSFORM unavoidable waste into innovative products.

This research falls within the ENGAGE program’s Designing effective interventions to reduce household food waste project that includes every mainland state government and the ACT, Central Queensland University, Australia’s two largest food rescue charities FoodBank Australia and OzHarvest, the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Program, plus Australia’s largest supermarket retailer Woolworths.

The Fight Food Waste CRC is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as part of the CRC Program that supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community.

Further information is available on the project page and in the reports below:

Interviews can be arranged through Steven Lapidge – 0401 990 367 or