Key stakeholders meet to discuss consumer food waste behaviour campaign
Wednesday, 20 October 2021
Through the 2017 National Food Waste Strategy (NFWS) the Australian Government has committed to halve food loss and waste in Australia by 2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. Within the NFWS one of four priorities for action was changing consumer behaviours.
Modelling undertaken as part of the Food Innovation Australia Ltd NFWS Feasibility Study¹ has shown that consumer food waste will need to be reduced by a minimum of 30% if the overall target of halving food waste is to be achieved. This will require a national approach to reducing household food waste through targeted behaviour change interventions and involvement of stakeholders across all sectors.
Based on this information 27 stakeholders from industry, government, and the for‐purpose sector met virtually on October 19 and 20, 2021, to discuss and agree upon a course of action for a nationwide consumer food waste behaviour change campaign. With only nine years remaining to achieve the goal of halving food loss, attendees agreed to work together with a sense of urgency.
The Hon. Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management provided the opening address on Day 2 of the Summit which was hosted online by Stop Food Waste Australia.
Agreed to at the Summit was:
Engaging with consumers. It was acknowledged a nationwide campaign is necessary to make a substantial reduction in food wasted by Australian consumers in their homes and when they dine out in foodservice businesses. Current consumer practices across households, hospitality and institutions result in over $20 billion per year of wasted food, over half the $36.6 billion total value of all food wasted across the entire farm to fork value chain in Australia¹.
Collaborative operating model. Participants from supermarkets, businesses with consumer focussed food brands and industry associations worked with government (federal, state and local), food rescue charities and researchers to develop a collaborative operating model for a nationwide consumer food waste reduction campaign.
Coordinated action to create consistency, amplification and repetition of messages. The summit signalled the start of a collaborative effort, drawing on expertise from across Australia and globally, to create coordinated action. The nationwide campaign will seek to provide consumers with consistent messages which will be amplified across stakeholder communication channels and repeated over a sustained period. Such consistency, amplification and repetition are necessary to embed more ‘eat all you buy’ consumer choices and behaviours².
Benefits to society through innovation, jobs and reducing CO2 emissions. Participants agreed that reducing amount of food wasted by consumers provides a significant opportunity to drive innovation in the food industry, create new Australian jobs, stop valuable resources going to landfill, and curb CO2 emissions. Focussing on helping consumers reduce food waste also provides substantial environmental, economic, and social benefits to society. It supports the development of a circular economy, which will be critical to having a sustainable food industry in Australia into the future.
Formation of Working Group. Participants agreed to support Stop Food Waste Australia to develop a collaborative operating model and a costed business case. A Working Group involving representatives from all stakeholders will be formed and will provide summit attendees with monthly updates on progress. A key task for this Working Group is determining the most appropriate governance arrangements while minimising duplication, and establishing funding mechanisms. It is anticipated that a campaign involving stakeholders from across industry, government and for‐purpose organisations will be advanced during 2022.
For more information, including opportunities to be involved, please contact Professor David Pearson, interim Chair of the Working Group.
¹ and ² FIAL 2021 National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study: Can we halve Australia’s food waste by 2030? Food Innovation Australia Limited