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Food waste is a pressing issue in Australia, affecting both the environment and the economy. With approximately 7.6 million tonnes of food wasted annually, the need for sustainable solutions has never been more urgent. This article explores the magnitude of the problem, its implications, and potential strategies for food industry professionals, retailers, and environmentalists to mitigate food waste.

The Scale of the Problem

Australia’s food waste issue is staggering. According to the National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study:

  • Food waste costs the Australian economy around $36.6 billion each year.
  • Australians waste about 7.6 million tonnes of food across the supply chain annually, which equates to around 312kg per person and can cost up to $2,500 per household per year.
  • Food waste accounts for approximately 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Around 2,600 gigalitres of water are used to grow food that ultimately gets wasted—a volume equivalent to 5 Sydney Harbours.
  • The land used to grow wasted food covers more than 25 million hectares, a landmass larger than the state of Victoria.
  • Households generate the most food waste in Australia, responsible for about 30% of the total, equating to around 2.5 million tonnes per year.

The Food Waste Challenge

Reducing food waste is a complex challenge requiring a multifaceted approach. Solutions must address food waste at every stage of the supply chain, from farms to retailers, and include food service settings and households. Key considerations include redistributing surplus food, repurposing potential waste and behavioral change..

Australians’ Role in Reducing Food Waste

Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy aims to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. The strategy provides a framework to support actions towards this goal and aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12, which aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Additionally, retailers can play a pivotal role by utilising technologies such as EM Cloud™ Integrated Point of Sale Software. This software includes a Food Date Check Module that helps decrease waste through effective management practices like:

  • Markdowns: Automatically reducing prices for soon-to-expire products to encourage purchase.
  • Auto Order Functionality: Using machine learning to accurately order products based on historical data and usage, thus minimising waste.


Addressing Australia’s food waste problem requires a collective effort from all stakeholders in the food supply chain, including retailers, food industry professionals, and consumers. By adopting sustainable practices and leveraging technology, we can make significant strides towards reducing food waste and its detrimental impacts on our environment and economy.

Call to Action

Join us in the fight against food waste. Learn more about sustainable retail practices and how you can contribute to reducing food waste. For more information, visit our website or contact us directly. Together, we can make a difference.


Form more information on the National Waste Policy Action Plan visit the website

Credit: Department of Climate Change,Energy, the Environment and Water



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