AUSTRALIAN families are wasting $76.4 million worth of uneaten food every week, a report has revealed, with Millennials the worst offenders, despite claiming to care the most about reducing waste.
The Mitsubishi Electric Home Trends report, conducted by Lonergan Research, found that while more Australians were embracing fresh food and cutting down on takeaway, this had led to more food being wasted.
The survey of 1054 adults from all over Australia found that the average family spent $163.07 a week on groceries, but were wasting $20.59 of that; a worrying 13 per cent of the food budget going uneaten. Nationally, families were wasting $76.4 million worth of food a week out of a $604.8 million spend
Chris Lonergan, CEO of Lonergan Research, said that breaking it down by generation, younger Aussies were the worst.
“Millennials are the biggest wasters of food, despite also being the most passionate about food wastage,” Mr Lonergan said.
In households where Millennials were the main grocery buyers, 16 per cent of the average weekly spend went to waste, which equalled $23.73 worth of food. At the other end of the scale, households where Baby Boomers were the main grocery buyers, spent an average $118.83 each week and wasted just 7 per cent, or $7.88 in food.
Home cooking is on the rise in Australia, with 38 per cent cooking at home more frequently than they were 12 months ago. Millennials have led the charge with 51 per cent increasing home cooking and 29 per cent bulk cooking for storage more often.
And while modern Australians are more aware of food wastage thanks to supermarkets selling imperfect items in a bid to make the most of produce, they were often simply unable to store as much food as needed, Mr Lonergan said
“Australians are cooking at home more amore fresh food for bulk storage, but 47 per cent reported not having enough room in their freezers,” he said.
Aussie celebrity chef Ed Halmagyi said there were a number of ways to reduce food waste and offered the following tips:
1. Quickles. Chop any leftover veggie into matchstick shapes and place in a glass jar. Mix boiling vinegar with a little salt and sugar (maybe some spices) then refrigerate for two days. A great condiment for any meat.
2. Homemade hot sauce. Leftover tomatoes, capsicums, onions and garlic tossed with a little olive oil and salt, and then slow roasted for 90 minutes. Season generously. Add a pinch or brown sugar and as much chilli as you like and puree.
3. Make your spag bol go further. After cooking your favourite bolognese sauce, chill as rapidly as possible so it lasts as long as possible.
4. Food storage. Understand how your fridge is designed, because each department has a unique usage property. To last as long as possible, some foods need good aeration and should be placed on open shelved while others like herbs, cheeses and soft fruits need to be contained. These belong in the crisper compartments or closing drawers.
5. Sometimes science really is the answer. There are specific waves of light that prevent fruits and veg (especially soft leaves) from oxidising. Crispers with unique orange LED emitters can double their shelf lives.