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Help fight food waste

Tags food-wastage
Category financial-health-barometer

Food Wastage

Help fight food waste

It's safe to assume that most of us (79% of us, according to our recent survey) don’t like wasting food.

We all know the miserable feeling when hunting though the fridge only to find wilted lettuce and limp carrots. Let’s not even get started on mouldy fruit and bread. Unfortunately, Kiwis’ eyes really are bigger than our stomachs, and the bulk of us – 94% – readily admit to wasting food.

Eating out often doesn’t make you less likely to waste food either. Those who eat out more than three times per week are the most likely to waste food, wasting around 20% of the food they purchase.

On average, Kiwis estimate they waste about an eighth of their weekly food purchases – a total of $1071 worth of food per household, per year. This adds up to an estimated $1.8 billion for the country as a whole.

And it’s not just that we are left out of pocket – it’s also putting additional pressure on food production. By 2050, the UN predicts that the world population will have increased by 2 billion people to over 9 billion. To meet the resulting increased demand for food, global food production will have to increase by at least 60%, while at the same time arable land and natural resources are nearing their limits.

We know that everyone does it, but no one likes doing it or wants to do it. 

So how can we reduce our food waste?

Plan your meals, and shop accordingly
Buying 2L of milk when you only use half that amount? Iceberg lettuce on two-for-one special at the supermarket, when you really only need one? Think about what you’re buying, and whether you’ll really use the amount you’re purchasing. It only takes about half an hour to set out a menu plan for the week ahead, but some mindful planning will help shrink your food spend as well as reducing the amount you throw away.

Store food correctly
Storing your food correctly is a really simple way to improve its longevity. Try to store veggies in your veggie crisper, your bread in the fridge or freezer (to stop it going mouldy in the humid air), and freeze your meat before its use by date. Reducing the clutter in your food storage areas will help you recognise and use food lurking close to its expiry.

Save your leftovers (and eat them)
This is pretty self-explanatory, and leftover curry or spaghetti bolognese tastes much better the next day anyway! Alternatively, put leftovers in the freezer for another time.

Prepare and cook food at home
Get creative and try some new recipes. With practice comes experience – and the more new recipes you try, the more you’ll be able to think up when you’re trying to use up food in your fridge that’s nearing the end of its life.

Reap the benefits

Now you’ve reduced your food waste, and you’re starting to see some savings in your weekly household spend, what do you do with that money? If you save it, you’ll get even more benefit from the additional interest. Easy.

Click here to learn more about our accounts, or click here to see the top results from our survey.