Victoria’s plan to halve food waste

We’re committed to helping Victoria halve food waste. In early 2020, we'll engage the Victorian food supply chain to co-develop a plan to meet this ambitious target. If you'd like to join us on this journey, we want to hear from you.

Sign up to hear more and get involved

On this page

Victoria’s role in Australia’s food waste

Victoria is Australia’s food bowl. We grow 25% of the nation’s food and process half of all Australian-made food.

To secure a thriving, sustainable and fair food sector for Victoria, we must halve food waste by 2030. Achieving this will support all Victorians to get more value from the food we grow, process, sell and buy.

To do this, we need to reduce waste and save resources. We need to rescue and redirect all surplus food to communities in need. And we need to find new ways to get value from our food to stop it going to waste.

Victoria is not alone in this mission. We join all states and 193 countries in a mission to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity by 2030. Halving food waste is one way we will do this.

Read more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Food waste opportunity for all Victorians

Food waste is an issue we’re committed to changing, but the issue is complex and involves every Victorian.

Food waste happens across the whole food supply chain: the network of people and businesses that grow, process, transport, store and sell the food we eat. There are several types of food waste generated at various stages of the supply chain, each offering unique opportunities to help us in the mission to halve food waste.

In Victoria, 90% of our food waste comes from four stages of the food supply chain: farms, food processors, consumers and hospitality businesses. Although these sectors have the greatest opportunity, we want to work with, and help, the entire food supply chain to reduce food waste.

Victoria’s plan to halve food waste by 2030

Our goal is to halve food waste by 2030.

It’s ambitious, but we know by working together with the right people and taking the right actions we can achieve this goal.

Right now, we support schools, businesses and households to reduce food waste through the Love Food Hate Waste program. But we know this is just one slice of the food waste pie and that we need bigger solutions to halve food waste across the whole food supply chain.

Over the next year, you’ll be hearing more from us as we develop a plan to help all Victorians get the best value from halving food waste. This plan will roll out in three stages:

  1. Planting the seed. We’ll work with all levels of government and industry to understand the problem and the unique reasons why food waste is happening in each area of the food supply chain.
  2. Growing the conversation. We’ll work with farmers, food manufacturers, industry leaders, business owners and all levels of government to investigate solutions to help get more food through the supply chain and onto our plates.
  3. Harvesting ideas. Using the insights provided, we’ll develop a range of ideas into a plan to help guide Victorians towards halving food waste by 2030.

If your business is food, we want to hear from you!

Sign up for updates and opportunities to get involved >.

What is food waste and where does it happen?

The latest research shows that Victoria produces over two million tonnes of food waste each year. Half of this – generated in homes, hospitality and retail businesses – ends up in landfill. But landfill is only half of the picture.

Food waste isn't just the leftover meals in the fridge that aren't eaten, unsold bread in bakeries at the end of the day or meals that aren’t finished in cafes and restaurants. Food is also lost on farms, in food processing, in transport and storage.

Food waste includes:

  • food that is grown but never leaves the farm gate
  • liquid food waste
  • food scraps including fruit cores, vegetable peel and seeds
  • food that never reaches the consumer, or reaches the consumer and is thrown out.

In Victoria food waste can end up in landfill, compost and sewers, or be directly applied to land or simply left on farms.

For more information on food waste in Australia, visit the National Department of the Environment & Energy Website.

Three reasons to halve food waste

1. Help the environment

Growing, processing, transporting and storing food generates over 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. When food becomes waste, it generates even more emissions.

Reducing food waste is the third biggest opportunity to reduce climate change, which is why we must achieve our goal. It is an achievable target with far reaching environmental benefits.

Emissions happen across the whole food supply chain. Some major sources of emissions relating to food include:

  • fertilisers and land used to grow food
  • trucks, cars and machinery used to harvest, transport and process food
  • refrigeration to keep food fresh in warehouses, transport, retail and homes
  • waste in landfill, compost and other facilities.

But emissions aren't the only environmental impact of food. Another big consideration is water.

In Victoria, farms use over 60% of all our water each year to grow food. That's 4 times more water than used by every home in Victoria combined!

Using water to grow food is necessary. Around 35% of the food we produce never gets eaten, which means 20% of our precious water is being used to grow waste!

Scientists expect dry conditions will continue in the coming decades. To grow a thriving, sustainable and fair food system, we must halve food waste by 2030. This will help all Victorians, now and in the future, to grow and eat food during these drier conditions.

2. Save money and make money

Food waste is a waste of money.

When we waste food, we not only pay to get rid of it – we lose value from the food that we buy or grow. This waste costs Australians $20 billion a year.

Farmers lose money when they grow food that isn’t harvested. Food processors lose money when they send food to compost, sewer or landfill. And hospitality businesses and consumers lose money when they throw leftovers and spoiled food in the bin.

By halving food waste, Victorian communities and businesses can save money and increase profits. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign has already shown how consumers can save over $2000 each year by stopping food waste. But this is only the beginning.

By reducing food waste and transforming food into new products before it becomes waste, the whole food supply chain can benefit. Businesses reduce food waste to cut costs, build new revenue streams and gain increased brand loyalty. Sustainability is good for your business.

3. Create a fairer food system for all Victorians

All Victorians should have equal access to healthy, nutritious food; yet each year, around 1 in 5 Australians run out of food and cannot buy more.

With all this food insecurity, we still waste around two million tonnes of food each year in Victoria.

This includes 100 million kilograms of fruit and vegetables that are wasted for not meeting retail standards. This food could help feed hungry Victorians who don’t have access to healthy food.

Halving food waste is a clear and easy solution that can help feed Victorians who can’t always access healthy food.

When we rescue healthy food to feed Victorian communities, we create a fairer food system for all Victorians. We also help the planet.

Food rescue organisations are already doing this, by transforming every kilogram of food they rescue into two meals. We need to do more to capture the surplus food we produce, to stop it going to waste and to help feed Victorians who are doing it hard.

To learn more about hunger and food insecurity in Australia, read the Food Bank Hunger report (PDF, 14.3MB).

Research

Good research is the key to finding fresh solutions to halve food waste. Here is a snapshot of some of the research that we’re currently working on.

Victorian Food Waste in Business Study

Victoria has a thriving food industry. We are known for our hip cafes, unique eateries and world class food and drink.

In 2019, we partnered with the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group to find out more about food waste in our thriving hospitality sector. We did this to understand how to help businesses save money, drive profits and become more sustainable.

This Australia-first study includes businesses that represent 85% of Victoria's food retail and hospitality sector.

Keep an eye out for the Food Waste in Business study in early 2020.

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)

In 2017, we joined the Fight Food Waste CRC as a core member. We did this to help understand how to support businesses and consumers fight back against food waste.

We now lead two cutting-edge research projects. One aims to understand the role of packing in reducing food waste, and the other to identify consumer behaviours that lead to food waste in the home.

Find out more about these projects and the CRC on their website.

Sign up to hear more and get involved

We’re on a mission to halve food waste by 2030. If food is your business and you want to help create Victoria’s plan to halve food waste, we want to hear from you. Sign up to stay up to date with the latest research and opportunities to join us on the path to halve food waste in Victoria.

* indicates required
Select which area/s of the food supply-chain you're involved in.
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         
  •         

Privacy collection statement

Sustainability Victoria collects, uses and discloses your personal information for the purpose of this program and may disclose your information to our business partners for the purpose of providing this service, including to our email marketing service provider, Mailchimp. Mailchimp databases, while stored outside of Australia, are maintained securely by the service provider and are managed subject to Australian privacy legislation requirements. We manage personal information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and our Privacy statement. If you wish to be removed from our mailing list, have any questions relating to the Privacy statement or wish to seek access to the personal information which Sustainability Victoria holds about you, please contact us in writing addressed to privacy@sustainability.vic.gov.au

Programs to help you get started

If you’re keen to get started on the mission to halve food waste, checkout the tips, tricks and programs we offer to reduce food waste.


Love food hate waste - don't let great taste go to waste

Love Food Hate Waste

Reduce food waste at home. Offering a range of handy tips, tricks and recipes, the Love Food Hate Waste program helps Victorians save food and money.

Read more


Love Food Hate Waste – Business

Understanding what really causes food waste and what to do about it can be difficult in a busy environment. To make things easier and to help hospitality businesses waste less and save money, we developed the Love Food Hate Waste Business program.

Learn more


Love Food Hate Waste – Schools

Looking for resources to teach children about food waste? Be a Love Food Hate Waste pilot school and create future leaders with our lesson plans for grades one to eight, mapped against the national and Victorian curricula.

Learn more


Close-up of fruit and vegetable scraps

Recycling food waste

Avoiding food waste is our top priority, but we understand that sometimes, food waste happens. This is especially true in our homes.

Learn more


Happy students in the school's garden

ResourceSmart Schools

Primary and secondary schools produce quite a bit of food waste. Keen to learn how to reduce food waste at school? Get involved in a free program that helps Victorian schools be more sustainable!

Learn more