Tips for Reducing Food Waste and Saving Money

Written and accurate as at: 11 November 2013

According to a recent survey and campaign by Foodwise, it is estimated that Australian Households throw out approximately $7.8billion worth of edible food each year.

Fresh food items make up the most wasted food products. Approximately two thirds of household food waste is a result of not using perishable food within time, resulting in spoilage. The other third is due to a tendency to cook too much, throwing out leftovers.

The survey found that single households produce more food waste than those households with more than one adult. It also found that households with children produced substantially more food waste than those homes without children.

Your food scraps do add up! Reducing food waste could save an average Australian household $1,036 each year. Below are ten simple things that you can do to reduce your food wastage and your household food bill at the same time:

1. Shop wisely. Planning meals and buying only as much food as you need is the best way to limit food wastage and it will help you to stick to your grocery budget. For those with a busy lifestyle, a meal plan can also mean a more varied and healthy diet.

2. Use your fridge wisely. As you replace food or buy more food, make sure you move the older food to the front of the fridge to use up first.

3. Avoid impulse buys. Shopping on an empty stomach can result in excessive purchases and unnecessary items in your trolley. Eating before you shop and sticking to a list can help you to reduce splurges.

4. Be wary of marketing strategies – the supermarket is full of marketing offers designed to get you to purchase multiple items, particularly perishable items. Remember you are not really saving if you buy two but end up throwing one of them away.

5. Consider online grocery shopping – the use of online delivery services is increasing in popularity. Once you’ve shopped online once, you can save favourite items, making it quicker and easier to regularly re-order and replace used items in the future. Online shopping can also be a good way to help you to stick to your shopping list and only buy those items that you need to replace.

6. Serve smaller portions. Rather than pile your plate with a large helping and throwing out the leftovers, consider serving smaller portions and having seconds if the first doesn’t suffice.

7. Save leftovers. Whether at home or at a restaurant, it always pays to save your leftovers. If you aren’t going to eat them straightaway, consider freezing them for another night. Leftovers can be a great timesaver and can often taste better the next time you eat them.

8. Get creative in the kitchen – there are mountains of websites that can help you to get creative in the kitchen with recipes to use up items in your fridge.

9. Don’t go for perfect – many perishable items such as fruit and vegetables are thrown out because of shape, colour and size. Typically, there is nothing wrong with this produce except for an irregular appearance. Buying and eating these foods helps to utilise food that might otherwise go to waste.

10. Compost food scraps. Not only are food scraps good for your garden as it recycles the nutrients but they also help to reduce your household food wastage. It may even inspire you to start your own veggie or herb garden.

Food wastage is not limited to just households, it occurs across the supply chain from farm, storage, transport, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes. The cost of food waste is not just financial. It also has a detrimental impact on our environment as nearly all food waste ends up in rubbish tips where it decomposes and releases the heat-trapping greenhouse gas methane.

Developing food saving habits will ensure that you do your part to reduce your ‘food print’ on the environment and will also help you to reduce your food bill and save money.

Watch the Saving you Money and Food Waster video here.

If you found this article useful, you may want to read our article on Savings Tips.