Food Waste Policy Workshop | Fight Food Waste CRC
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Food Waste Policy Workshop

The challenge

In Australia food waste is a $36.6 billion a year challenge (FIAL, 2021) while 1 in 5 people suffer from food insecurity (Foodbank Australia, 2021). Australia produces 7.6 million tonnes of food waste per year, which represents 312kg of food waste per person per year. With its pledge to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, Australia has committed to halving food waste by 2030 (Commonwealth of Australia, 2017).

Our approach

The Food Waste Policy Workshop aimed to identify the most effective and efficient policy interventions required to meet the target of halving food waste, and what evidence from research was required to support implementation of these policies.

A multi-stage approach was used to achieve this goal. The seven members of the Workshop Steering Committee identified 28 intervention areas based on a review of the international literature and their expertise. These were reviewed by eight experts from industry and government which led to a short list of 12 priority policy areas. Further consultation and consolidation by members of the Workshop Steering Committee refined this to five priority policy areas. These formed the basis of discussions amongst the 27 invited Australian food waste experts from industry, government, not for profit and research communities during the two-day workshop. The five priority policy areas are:

  • Consumer behaviour change campaign
  • Review of food waste to animal feed regulations and legislation
  • Unfair trading practices & whole crop purchase agreements (including cold chain)
  • Mandatory food waste reduction targets and/or food waste reporting for companies, and associated benchmarking
  • Measurement of food waste and loss

The next stage involved discussions during the Workshop. This sought to identify what evidence from research was required to support implementation of these priority policy areas. Workshop attendees determined the following five key research projects that were the most important to complete as being:

  • Develop a ‘brand’ using global marketing techniques to unlock the latent consumer desire to reduce food waste (Consumer brand)
  • Establish safety standards and maximum contaminant levels for feeding food waste to animals (for both food waste to insects and food waste direct to animal feed) (Food waste to animal feed)
  • Identify what trading practices cause the most food waste and propose solutions (Trading practices)
  • Explore policy and social license areas to identify barriers and opportunities for food retailers (supermarkets and food service businesses) to send surplus food to high value destinations (Food retailers)
  • Identify best business models and support mechanisms to support creation of new regional food hubs (Regional food hubs)

In the final stage, Workshop attendees were invited to create Working Groups who took on responsibility for progressing these key research projects.

Thus the direct outcomes from the Workshop were:

  • Food Waste Policy Workshop report
  • Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre Program Leaders taking responsibility to support Research Project Working Groups
    • Consumer brand – ENGAGE Program Leader
    • Trading practices and Food retailers – REDUCE Program Leader
    • Food waste to animal feed and Regional food hubs – TRANSFORM Program Leader


1 November 2022 – 31 January 2023