Australians Still Wasting Too Many Vegetables, Despite Buying Less – New Data Shows

Australians Still Wasting Too Many Vegetables, Despite Buying Less – New Data Shows

Data from Birds Eye’s recent frozen food snapshot reveals that even though Australians are buying fewer fresh vegetables in an attempt to cut costs, about 32% of people still discard unused vegetables at least once a week. Surprisingly, the younger generation, particularly those aged 18 to 35, are the biggest culprits, with almost half admitting to throwing away vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, and carrots regularly. Chef and sustainability advocate Alice Zaslavsky expresses her surprise at this trend, noting that this generation, known for their climate-consciousness and financial struggles, should be more mindful of their cooking habits.

On the other hand, individuals in the over-55 age group are more likely to utilize their fresh vegetables fully, with only 17% needing to dispose of any unused produce by the end of the week. The rising cost of living is influencing people’s shopping habits, with a quarter of respondents stating that they are purchasing more frozen foods. The motivation behind this change varies, with 70% aiming to save money while 41% seek to reduce household food waste.

Food waste remains a critical issue in Australia, as more than 7.6 million tonnes of food end up in landfills each year. Retailers are earning $1.2 billion from selling produce that becomes waste, according to Australia Institute research. To combat this food waste crisis, Zaslavsky suggests turning to the frozen vegetable aisle at supermarkets. She explains that frozen vegetables can be a viable alternative since they are often snap-frozen on the farm shortly after being harvested, retaining their nutritional value. Moreover, once cooked, the difference between fresh and frozen vegetables is minimal.

For those who prefer fresh produce, Zaslavsky offers tips to prevent vegetable waste. Placing wilted vegetables, such as carrots, celery, and asparagus, in a jar of water can help revive them and restore their crispness. If time is an issue, quickly cooking the vegetables in a pan can make a noticeable difference. Zaslavsky encourages people to give vegetables a chance before discarding them. She emphasizes that by thinking outside the box and utilizing what one already has, individuals can address the interconnected crises of food waste, rising living costs, and low vegetable intake among Australian adults.

– Birds Eye’s frozen food snapshot data
– AAP, 2023

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