Uniting Australia’s food cold chain to fight a $36.6b food waste challenge

A new Australian-first plan to tackle food waste across the food cold chain sector.

The Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan (SAP) has been co-designed and developed with Australia’s peak cold chain body, the Australian Food Cold Chain Council. The plan aims to reduce food waste from ‘gate to plate’, helping Australia in its stated goal of halving its food waste by 2030. 

Food Cold Chain is Stop Food Waste Australia’s first Sector Action Plan, with others including Food Rescue underway. 

“Australia is a big country and there’s an incredible amount of work that goes into keeping food at the required temperatures as it travels across often vast distances,” SFWA Chief Operating Officer Mr Mark Barthel says. 

“We know that more than 23 million tonnes of produce pass along Australia’s food cold chain each year, worth $42 billion at farm gate value.  

 “The Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan is a partnership between Stop Food Waste Australia and industry – it will allow us to collaborate and identify food waste ‘hotspots’ in the cold chain, while taking action to reduce their impacts, improve cold chain integrity and help industry to reduce costs.” 

Stop Food Waste Australia Chief Executive Officer Dr Steven Lapidge says food waste is a challenge too large for any one organisation to tackle alone. 

“Food waste costs the Australian economy nearly $37 billion a year. The Food Cold Chain SAP is an excellent example of how Stop Food Waste Australia works with industry to find solutions to food waste problems which have flow-on benefits for not only industry, but for the environment and consumers as well.” 

The Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan focuses on raising awareness, developing skills and supporting innovation across the breadth of cold chain actors. Programs such as the Cold Food Code and Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Benchmarking initiatives provide a structured approach to improving the performance of the cold chain and reducing food waste.  

“More than 50% of food categories can be extended by the cold chain,” Mark Mitchell, Chair of Australian Food Cold Chain Council says.   

“The new sector action plan supports a high functioning, compliant cold chain which is essential for reducing food waste, increasing the productivity of Australia’s agri-food and fisheries sector.” 

The Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan is the first in a series of sector plans developed by Stop Food Waste Australia to provide targeted insights and interventions for food waste ‘hotspots’. The plans are co-designed to address food waste in collaboration with those most able to affect direct change and tackle the root cause(s) of food waste and to support action to reduce food waste in the value chain. 

For more information on the Food Cold Chain action plan: stopfoodwaste.com.au/Sector-Action-Plans 

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