Preventing waste this 'World Food Day'

REDUCING WASTE: OzHarvest is an organisation that collects excess food and gives it to people who need it.
REDUCING WASTE: OzHarvest is an organisation that collects excess food and gives it to people who need it.

Australians throw out between $8 to $10 billion of food every year. 

This is an exorbitant amount, considering an estimated 1.9 million Australians go without food because they can’t afford it and nearly 3 million people are living in poverty, one quarter being children.

With World Food Day approaching on Monday, Managing Director of online office catering leader Order-In, Jonathan Rowley explains how offices can put more thought in how they can reduce their food wastage.

“As an organisation, we are very aware of this issue, which is why we are long-term supporters of OzHarvest,” Mr Rowley said.

“We have looked at the reduction habits of hundreds of our customers and found that the best practices to prevent food wastage at work, many of which can also translate to the home, are very easily implemented.”

SQUANDERED: Of the $8 billion worth of food wasted each year 33 per cent is fresh food, 47 per cent is leftovers and 15 per cent is packaged and long-life products.

SQUANDERED: Of the $8 billion worth of food wasted each year 33 per cent is fresh food, 47 per cent is leftovers and 15 per cent is packaged and long-life products.

At work:

  • Donate, don’t discard: There are many charities or organisations that will happily collect your unused produce and reallocate to places or people in need. This is perfect for when you’ve ordered too much food or if a meeting has been cancelled at the last minute. This will not only benefit those in need but it will also reduce the increasing amount of food that ends up in landfill, as currently 4 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill every year.
  • Purchase in-season food: In order to make educated decisions, you should familiarise yourself with current in-season produce. Seasonal food will most likely be locally produced, meaning you will be supporting our farmers and growers. The produce will also be fresher, taste better and won’t perish as fast.
  • Care for the environment: At your next corporate event or working lunch, you should look to use reusable or disposal plates, serve ware, utensils and glasses. When choosing these items, ensure they are bio-degradable or can be composted and recycled.

At home:

  • Plan before you shop: The saying is true for grocery shopping, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. At the beginning of the week, plan each meal so you don’t buy unnecessary items, check what you already have at home and construct a list to save time and money. And lastly, don’t get sucked into the world of impulse buying! Stick to the plan. 
  • First in, first out: No we aren’t referring to the accounting method but a helpful way to unpack your groceries. You should move the older products to the front of your fridge or pantry and then put the newer products towards the back. Australians waste up to 20% of the food they purchase, which is equivalent to 1 out of 5 bags of groceries purchased, so this method will dramatically decrease your food wastage as you utilise the older stuff before it expires.
  • Maximise it: Several foods will have more than one use. Vegetables, bones and meat scraps can be used to make stocks as the base of many meals. Overripe fruit will also make tasty smoothies, muffins or even cakes. Although wilted vegetables may seem unappetising, they can be used in soups or health juices. If you have a surplus of perfectly fine fruit, why not freeze them, make jam or marmalade, or even pickle them. Get creative!

“We all have to do our bit and at Order-In, we actively encourage all of our corporate catering clients to notify OzHarvest when they have a surplus of food that is perfectly edible,” Mr Rowley added. 

“We urge all households and offices to do the same.

“We also offer our clients the option to make a $1 donation each time they place an order, which goes directly to OzHarvest.

“It might seem like a small contribution but over the length of our partnership, we have matched this dollar for dollar and have raised close to $8,000, which has provided more than 16,000 meals to disadvantaged and vulnerable men, women and children over that time frame.

“World Food Day is a good reminder of how fortunate we are and how we can all do our little bit to make it count.”

For more information go to http://www.ozharvest.org/what-we-do/environment-facts/