Australian businesses and the Australian Government can help strengthen food rescue, help feed food-insecure Australians and minimize the impact of food waste on the environment, according to Stop food waste in AustraliaSector action plan.
The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan has been designed and developed in partnership with four of Australia’s largest food rescue charities – Foodbank, OzHarvest, SecondBite and FareShare.
The plan outlines key actions in research, policy, business collaboration and education to help support and strengthen food rescue, reduce food waste across the supply chain and help food insecure Australians.
Food rescues play an important role in achieving Australia’s stated goal of halving food waste by 2030, as well as helping to meet the growing need for food aid. In 2021, Australia’s food rescue sector diverted or repurposed more than 80 million kilograms of quality food and redistributed it as food for millions of food-insecure Australians.
The Sectoral Action Plan aims to increase surplus food collected for redistribution by highlighting key initiatives for both the food rescue sector and policy makers, primary producers, manufacturers, retailers, transport and logistics organizations and other stakeholders, including :
- Improving tax incentives to encourage donations of surplus food and essential services to the food rescue sector
- Establishment of a joint sector steering group to discuss and prioritize actions and develop an actionable plan for implementation by the sector
- Expanding research initiatives to improve collective understanding of the sector and current food rescue models and systems, as well as research into alternative models of food rescue and distribution of food surpluses.
- Partnering with Australia’s Food Pact signatories, which include some of Australia’s largest food businesses, to integrate food donation into business practices and food waste reduction goals.
Stop Food Waste Australia CEO Dr Stephen Lapidge said the value of Australia’s food rescue sector cannot be underestimated.
“Saving food is a unique approach to reducing food waste because it also has the fundamental co-benefit of reducing food insecurity.
“Australians continue to waste more than 7.6 million tonnes of food each year, 70 per cent of which is edible. At the same time, one in six Australian adults was undernourished in the past year and 1.2 million Australian children were going hungry,” Lapidge said.
Stop Food Waste Australia chief operating officer Mark Bartel said the sector action plan offers a way to increase the amount of food redistributed to vulnerable Australians and diverted from landfill.
“The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan highlights the importance of working with and between the largest food rescue charities, government and business partners to ensure that surplus good quality food is donated to people in need and not wasted,” explained Barthel.
“Saving food is such an important sector for us and the progress we have made with the Plan in just a few short years has been truly impressive and driven by a group of very passionate people with a strong sense of purpose.”
The release of the Food Rescue Sector Action Plan meets the requirements of the United Nations International Food Loss and Waste Awareness Day (Thursday, September 29).
The Food Rescue Sector Action Plan is the second in a series of sector plans developed by Stop Food Waste Australia, following the Food Cold Chain Sector Action Plan published in July 2022.
The plans are designed to tackle food waste in collaboration with those most able to effect direct change and address the root causes of food waste, and to support actions to reduce food waste along the value chain.
For more information on the Save Food Sector Action Plan: stopfoodwaste.com.au/Sector-Action-Plans