Aussies are throwing out food despite the grocery bill being a big source of financial stress during the cost of living crisis.
A recent survey from Birds Eye foods revealed that one third of Aussies (32 per cent) are throwing away unused vegetables on a weekly basis. The veggies given the boot the most are lettuce, broccoli and carrots.
According to the survey, young Aussies are the guiltiest of this with 45 per cent of 18-35-year-olds throwing them out. This is followed by 35-54-year-olds at 36 per cent and 55 and over at 17 per cent.
These statistics paint an unflattering picture as comparison website Finder released their cost of living report and it showed that the grocery bill is causing the biggest stress.
The report showed that food and non-alcoholic expenses had increased by 9.2 per cent, with 78 per cent of respondents stating they’ve had to reduce their spending and 50 per cent of that was groceries.
When it came to which generation was experiencing more financial stress, 70 per cent of respondents belonged to Gen Z with Gen Y trailing behind at 60 per cent.
From December 2022 to February 2023, groceries were the expense type that caused the most financial stress.
Finder’s CEO Chris Ellis summed up the report’s findings perfectly: “In the last few years and particularly over the last 12 months, the cost of living has soared dramatically, making it increasingly difficult for many Australians to afford their basic needs”.
Seeing these statistics, one could wonder why people are wasting money by throwing out food. According to Birds Eye ambassador, author and sustainability advocate Aline Zaslavsky, it’s a couple of reasons.
“We’re dealing with three key issues at the moment – food waste, low vegetable consumption and the rising cost of living,” she told news.com.au.
“And an easy way to combat all of these is to use our freezers better.”
The research by Birds Eye, which makes frozen food, showed that some Aussies (25 per cent) are buying more frozen foods like vegetable and fruit. When stating their reasons for switching to frozen food, 71 per cent of people said it was to save money.
“Addressing food waste starts at the shops. It’s about ensuring that what you’re buying is what you will use,” Ms Zaslavsky said.
Phoebe Dowling, the head of sustainability at Birds Eye’s owner Simplot, encouraged people to freeze food rather than throwing it out.
“It’s great that we’re turning to the freezer aisle as an affordable way to get our veggie intake up, but it’s alarming that around a third of us are still throwing out fresh produce away at a time when the cost of living is high,” she said.
“Strategically incorporating more frozen food into our meal planning has the potential to reduce food wastage in households.
“And we need more people to see it as a means to limiting the amount of produce we’re sending to the landfill.”