Australian's spent over $10 billion dollars on food this year, which eventually ended up in garbage bins, up from nearly $9 billion dollars in 2018.
Rabobank has released its 2019 food waste report, comparing states and generations as well as how Australia compares globally.
Some of the key findings in the report are:
- Australia remains fourth highest food waster globally.
- The average Australian household waste $1026 worth of food annually, or 13 per cent of their total grocery buy.
- Less than three out of 10 recognise the impact food waste has on the environment.
- Generation Z members waste $1446 worth of food annually, up from $234 in 2018.
- Baby Boomers are the least wasteful, throwing out $498 worth of their food.
- People living in capital cities waste 14pc of their weekly shop.
- People in rural areas only waste 11pc.
- Victorians are the most wasteful state, throwing away 13.9pc of their food annually.
The head of client experience with Rabobank Glenn Wealands said unfortunately Australia compares badly with the rest of the world.
"According to the food sustainability index, developed by The Economist's intelligence unit, Australia is the fourth highest food waster in the world," he said.
"Given the increasing pressure to provide for a growing world population there is an urgent need for greater action from governments, industry, retailers, and consumers to drive change."
All sectors guilty
The report has found the biggest food waste offenders are consumers with household waste making up 34 per cent of food waste nationally.
But primary producers weren't far behind at 31pc, with manufacturing wasting 25pc.
"Every one of us can and must make a difference," Mr Wealands said.
"The ramifications go far beyond dollars, impacting our planet and precious resources.
"We know from this research that over three quarters of us care about reducing food waste and are annoyed by it, but it's alarming that less than three out of 10 of us recognise the impact."
Other report findings are that:
- Most Australians don't link the impact of their household waste to bigger picture issues with 54pc believing it contributes to landfill.
- Only four in ten link it to pollution and one third recognise it increases emissions.
- Less than a third of Australians connect the impact of their waste with climate change, water shortages and animals becoming extinct.
- The top reasons for household waste include food not being prepared properly, not knowing what to do with leftovers, buying too much and changing plans.
- The uptake of food delivery services is also linked to food waste habits.
Good work being done
Mr Wealands said while groups like OzHarvest, Foodbank and Yume do a great job combatting waste it's also worth looking at what's happening overseas.
"Governments in Italy and France banned supermarket food waste in 2016, legislating that unsold goods must be given to food banks or charities," he said.
Ultimately, there must be a highlighted sense of urgency now, given we're wasting more than ever before."
The food waste report is part of Rabobank's annual financial health barometer which surveys over 2300 people aged between 18 and 65.
The full report can be downloaded here.