Monday, April 22, 2024

New action plan addresses fruit and veg waste

End Food Waste Australia with the Australian Bananas Growers’ Council, Melons Australia, and the horticulture industry have released a new nation-wide plan to reduce fruit and vegetable waste.

With more than three million tonnes of fruit and vegetables going to waste every year in Australia, the Horticulture Sector Action Plan provides an Australian-wide view of key horticulture food waste root causes and identifies the most impactful actions to reduce food waste.

“Reducing horticulture food waste is critical to reaching Australia’s goal of halving food waste by 2030 and will have positive impacts for everyone,” says End Food Waste Australia CEO Dr Steven Lapidge.

“Tackling fresh produce waste would provide billions of dollars of economic benefits, reduce the growing environmental impact of our food system, and will directly help feed millions more food insecure Australians every year.”

Nine key action areas have been identified in the plan, aiming to reduce fresh produce food waste that occurs at every stage of the food supply chain – on farm, during transportation and manufacturing, and in retail stores.

Interventions include improving food waste data and measurement, exploring whole crop purchasing arrangements, reviewing product specifications, improving logistics to get fresh produce to food rescue charities, investing in and growing value-add opportunities and Australia’s upcycled foods market – such freeze-dried fruits, vegetable powders – along with many more.

The most impactful interventions depend on the produce type. Bananas and melons have led the way with dedicated Food Waste Action Plans and targeted priority actions.

“Food waste is a $36 billion challenge that is far too big for anyone, or any single sector, to tackle alone,” says Mr Lapidge.

“The horticulture industry, with leadership from the bananas and melons industry and support from Queensland government and Hort Innovation Australia have come together to demonstrate collaboration on sustainability leadership in the development of these plans.”

The Horticulture Sector Action Plan, Banana Food Waste Action Plan and Melon Food Waste Action Plan are available on the End Food Waste Australia website.

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