Coast businesses team up to fight food wastage

By Stephanie Allen.

The amount of food wastage in Australia per year could fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground 32 times.

That’s over eight million tonnes of food ending up in landfill.

Ricky’s and Woodfire Grill general manager David Jouy will join Aromas head chef Jules Santisis at the FAN Networking Event tonight Let’s Talk About Waste.

Watch My Waste research project founder Dianne McGrath says households waste one in four or five shopping bags of food a week.

“Businesses throw away nearly the same amount … It adds up to something in the equivalent of $20 billion a year of food that’s thrown away,” Ms McGrath says.

“All the resources that are wasted per food not eaten – our water, our top soil, the nutrients in the soil, the energy that’s used to transport and store food, animals that have lost their lives for us to decide we don’t feel like any more of that schnitzel.

“At the same time … something like 1.8 or 1.9 million Australians go without a meal sometime in the year.”

FAN event and workshop organiser Jacqui Price says her not-for-profit network is open to all industry from growers to restaurants.

“Our vision is to help agri business grow,” Ms Price says.

Mr Jouy says his restaurant produce a large amount of their own vegetables.

“We are careful of our electricity and gas … we’ve got our own small herb garden which is used every day by our chef,” Mr Jouy says.

“In the last six months we kept all our food waste and started to [use] our wastage to become our compost.”

Ms McGrath’s PhD research project Watch My Waste looks at food waste in the hospitality industry.

The project has found that 215 grams of food is being wasted from each customer’s plate.

“Only about 20 to 25 per cent of businesses who have ever done a food waste audit … and yet food contributes to about nearly a third of their costs each week,” Ms McGrath says.

After tracking their food wastage for three months, businesses ranging from small cafes and restaurants to hospitals and franchises were able to reduce their wastage from at least 4 to 5 percent to 60 percent.

To reduce food wastage at home, Ms McGrath recommends keeping a journal of what is bought and used, only buying what is needed rather than buying in bulk and Googling new recipes to use left overs.

Growing your own food can also prevent wastage.

The event is being held at The J Noosa from 5.30-8pm.

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