New food waste initiative to target food insecurity in Australia

food insecure Australians

Australian businesses and the Australian government can help strengthen food rescue, help feed food insecure Australians, and minimise environmental impacts of food waste, according to Stop Food Waste Australia‘s Sector Action Plan.

The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan has been co-designed and developed with Australia’s four biggest food rescue charities – Foodbank, OzHarvest, SecondBite and FareShare.

The plan outlines key interventions in research, policy, business collaboration and education that will help support and strengthen food rescue, reduce food waste across the supply chain and assist food insecure Australians.

Food rescue plays a critical role in Australia meeting its stated target of halving food waste by 2030 while also helping address the growing need for food relief. In 2021, Australia’s food rescue sector redirected or repurposed over 80 million kilograms of good-quality food and redistributed it as meals for millions of food insecure Australians.

The Sector Action Plan aims to increase surplus food captured for redistribution, highlighting key initiatives for both the food rescue sector and policy-makers, primary producers, manufacturers, retailers, transport and logistics organisations and other associated parties, including:

  • Improving tax incentives to encourage donations of surplus food and essential services to the food rescue sector
  • Establishing a collaborative steering group within the sector to discuss and prioritise actions and develop a workable plan for the sector to implement
  • Enhancing research initiatives to improve collective understanding of the sector and current food rescue models and systems, and investigate alternative models of food rescue and distribution of surplus food.
  • Partnering with the Australian Food Pact signatories – comprising some of Australia’s biggest food businesses – to embed food donation into business practices and food waste reduction targets.

Stop Food Waste Australia CEO Dr Steven Lapidge said the value of Australia’s food rescue sector cannot be understated.

“Food rescue is a unique approach to reducing food waste because it also has the fundamental co-benefit of reducing food insecurity.

“Australians continue to waste more than 7.6 million tonnes of food every year – 70 per cent of which is edible. At the same time, one in six Australian adults haven’t had enough to eat in the last year, and 1.2 million Australian children have gone hungry,” Lapidge said.

Stop Food Waste Australia COO Mark Barthel said the Sector Action Plan offers a path for increasing the amount of food redistributed to vulnerable Australians and diverted from landfill.

“The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan highlights the importance of collaboration with and between the biggest food rescue charities, the government and business partners to ensure good-quality surplus food is donated to the people who need it and not wasted,” Barthel explained.

“Food rescue is such an important sector for us and the progress we’ve made as part of developing the Plan in a few short years has been truly impressive and driven by a group of very passionate people with a strong sense of purpose.”

The release of the Food Rescue Sector Action Plan aligns with the United Nations’ International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (Thursday, September 29).

The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan is the second in a series of sector plans developed by Stop Food Waste Australia, following the Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan released in July 2022.

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 Rescue Sector Action Plan:

Send this to a friend