Are you an Over Provider or an Under Planner? New research identifies food waste personas | Fight Food Waste CRC
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Australian households broadly fit into one of three food waste personas: ‘Over Providers’, ‘Under Planners’ or ‘Considerate Planners’, according to new research by the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (FFW CRC).

These personas are a part of a landmark Designing effective interventions to reduce household food waste project delivered by the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). It is managed by the Fight Food Waste CRC, with support from many State and Territory governments, supermarkets, food rescue charities and Central Queensland University.

The release of the study coincides with United Nations’ International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste today (29 September), in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.

To identify the personas, researchers analysed data on food waste behaviours from online surveys completed by more than 2800 Australian households. They also looked at the contents of the bins for some participants and conducted in-depth interviews.

The three personas include:

  • Over Providers make up 23% of Australian households. They waste the most food per home and per person, and are typically young families with children, often with both parents working. While they plan their food shopping, they tend to purchase and cook more than needed. Also, they have full fridges and eat out frequently compared to the other two segments.
  • Under Planners make up 32% of Australian households. They are usually single or couple households, often without young children. They are the least likely to plan food shopping and meals. They lack interest in shopping and cooking and wish to be time efficient with respect to those two food management behaviours.
  • Considerate Planners make up 45% of Australian households. They are often older couple-based households, many with children that no longer live at home. They typically have more regular food waste reduction habits such as planning and shopping for meals, cooking suitable portions and using leftovers.

Fight Food Waste CRC Chief Executive Officer Dr Steven Lapidge says the personas can help waste educators and consumers better understand food waste behaviours so they find strategies to reduce it.

“The average Australian throws away $965 of food every year, adding up to almost $20 billion of household food waste across Australia. Households carry a staggering 53% of the total economic value of all food wasted and lost in Australia,” Dr Lapidge says.

“The Fight Food Waste CRC is working with industry, researchers and government to learn more about Australian households’ food habits and help people reduce food waste.

“If people can relate to these personas, they’ll understand more about their triggers for wasting food and be able change behaviours around how we plan, shop, cook and eat to make the most of the food that we buy.

“Whether we are over-providers, under planners or considerate planners, we can all adopt better practices. Households can make simple changes to how they manage their food from week to week, and these changes will save money and help the environment.”

The research report can be downloaded at: