Food Waste in Australia


In 2018 – 2019, 7.6 million tonnes of food were wasted in Australia or an average of 312 kg per person was wasted that year.

In terms of economic loss, this equates to $19.3 billion and an average of $2000 – $2500 per household being lost every year. The irony of Australia’s food waste problem is that half a million households experience food scarcity every day due rising costs of living. And 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions are from food waste. This makes it a significant contributor to the climate crisis.

So, what’s to blame for the astronomical food waste situation? Is it the major supermarkets profiting from use-by and best-before labelling dates? Or is it the cosmetic standards set by the big supermarkets for fruits and vegetables that garner massive profits for them? Perhaps it’s the consumers who demand these cosmetic standards that are at fault?

Whether it’s the chicken or the egg, join us in a conversation with OzHarvest’s founder & CEO, Ronni Kahn AO; Paul West, Co-founder of Grow It Local, TV Host, Author, Chef;  and Nina Gbor, Australia Institute’s Director of Circular Economy & Waste as they delve into the core of the issue. The webinar will also explore ways households can reduce waste while saving costs, alternative systems, and how we can collectively change the food system to reach the government’s target of halving Australia’s food waste by 2030.


Ronni Kahn AO is a South-African born Australian social entrepreneur who founded the food rescue charity OzHarvest. She is a passionate advocate and activist, renowned for disrupting the food waste landscape in Australia. As the owner of a successful event company, Ronni saw huge volumes of food going to waste every day and soon realised she was part of the problem. Ronni’s simple solution of taking her own surplus food to local charities quickly took off and in 2004, OzHarvest was born. Today, OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. Always on the lookout for new ways to innovate, Ronni started the world’s first free supermarket – the OzHarvest Market. Ronni has received various accolades recognising her achievements, Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and Australian Local Hero of the Year, Boss Magazine Top 21 True Leaders, Gourmet Traveller’s Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality, Griffith University’s Doctor of the University (honoris causa), University South Australia Doctor of the University and a top 100 Innovator as named in The Australian Business Review 2022. Ronni’s journey in the fight against food waste became the feature of an independent film Food Fighter. Her memoir A Re-Purposed Life published by Murdoch Books Australia was released in September 2020.

Paul West has spent his adult life digging into the world of food. Growing it,  cooking it and sharing it. As the presenter of the iconic River Cottage Australia series and a co-founder of Grow it Local, Paul has been inspiring people to get their hands dirty and connect with their food for over a decade. He believes that not only are backyard and urban food growers making the world a better place, they might just save it.

Nina Gbor is the Director Circular Economy & Waste Program at the Australia Institute and the founder of Eco Styles. She is a sustainability educator, speaker, consultant and eco stylist working with media, councils, organisations, community groups and schools to create a holistic and environmentally sustainable future in Australia with a focus on circular economy and systems change. Nina holds a Masters in International Development at University of Bristol, U.K. She designed and ran short courses in sustainable fashion & textiles at RMIT University in Melbourne and now guest lectures in ethical & sustainable fashion at universities and colleges in Australia and abroad. Nina has worked on a number of successful campaigns and projects around circularity and waste reduction. She is an impact consultant and guest contributor on ABC TV’s award-winning environmental tv show, War On Waste. Nina founded Clothes Swap & Style, a clothing exchange platform that teaches and works with councils and community groups to reduce fashion & textile waste to landfill in Australia by swapping.


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