New research: Young Victorians throwing away $115 of food a week

19 June 2018

New research commissioned by Sustainability Victoria has found young Victorians and parents with children are key contributors to the state’s food waste dilemma, which equates to an estimated cost of $5.4 billion annually.

The findings showed that Generation Z are more flippant with their grocery shopping, throwing out a reported $115 of food waste weekly, compared to Baby Boomers who reported just over a tenth of that at $17 per week and Builders at just $11.

The new findings also showed that:

  • Almost half (46%) of the Victorian population are not aware how much money they are throwing in the bin in the form of food waste. 
  • 9 in 10 Victorians feel guilty about how much food they waste. 
  • Males report wasting close to double their female counterparts, throwing away $54 in food waste per week compared to $29.
  • Parents with children 16 years and under are also highly likely to throw out food, with more than one-third (42%) believing it is their children who are responsible for the waste.

The findings form part of a new campaign launched today – Love Food Hate Waste, Love a List – which encourages Victorians to write better shopping lists and stick to them to reap the rewards – not only reducing their food waste, but saving them money on their weekly grocery shop. 

The Victorian Government has today announced their support with an additional $1 million funding for the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to help households reduce their food waste through to 2021.

A new short documentary released today takes a light-hearted look at the serious issue of food waste and follows the inspiring journey of three Victorian families as they take on a four-week challenge to cut their food waste and their grocery bill. 

Hosted by comedian Cal Wilson, and filmed in Lysterfield and surrounds, as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the humble shopping list, the documentary shows how through better planning and sticking to a shopping list, families can save thousands of dollars a year.

The new findings highlight that Victoria’s shopping list habits have room to improve, with only 43% of Victorians reporting they always shop with a list and 46% of people admitting they buy food they don’t need. 

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said that preventing food from being wasted is the best way to address the costly problem.

“We know from previous research that households that use a shopping list reduce their food waste compared to those who don’t. Through the Love Food Hate Waste, Love a List campaign, we’re giving Victorians the tools they need to reduce their food waste,” said Mr Krpan.

Despite more than three quarters of respondents (78%) showing a strong desire to save money on groceries, the average Victorian household throws away over $2,000 a year worth of food. Food waste also has significant environmental impacts through the waste of natural resources such as water and energy and contributing to climate change through emissions from landfill.

When asked about her experience hosting the documentary, Cal Wilson said talking about food waste with the families was eye opening. 

“I was genuinely shocked at how much food we all throw out. There’s so much we can do to reduce food waste that doesn’t include overeating, or giving leftovers as presents. A really great first step is making a shopping list and sticking to it,” said Ms Wilson.

Smarter shopping is easy and can be achieved through three simple steps: planning the week’s meals, writing a list and eating what has been bought.

Through the voices of the three families from Lysterfield and surrounds, the Love Food Hate Waste documentary encourages all Victorians to pledge to the four week Love a List Challenge and see the benefits for themselves.

All households that sign up to the challenge will receive a free Love a List pack including a handy meal-planner and shopping list, as well as going into the draw to win a grocery voucher to the value of $800.

The Love Food Hate Waste documentary and Love a List Challenge will be released online at 9am (AEST) Tuesday, 19 June. Those interested in watching the full documentary or making the pledge should visit

Editor’s notes

The below age ranges were used in this study:

  • Gen Z: 1995–2010
  • Gen Y: 1980–1994
  • Gen X: 1965–1979
  • Boomers: 1946–1964
  • Builders: 1925–1945

Research methodology

The research was commissioned by Sustainability Victoria and conducted by QDOS Reseach. QDOS Research surveyed 1001 Australians aged between 18 years and over between 18th and 22nd May 2018. A non-interlocking quota was set out to achieve a representative sample of gender, age and locality (regional, rural and metropolitan. The survey was conducted online.



For an interview with a family member featured in the documentary, access to Sustainability Victoria spokespeople or high res imagery, please get in touch with either Sofie or Amanda from Alt/Shift: