With food waste production becoming an increasingly prevalent topic around the world, many Australians are opting for shopping and consumption habits that reduce their food waste as much as possible. Manufacturers need to reflect on the nature of these habits and consider strategies to satisfy the needs of Australians. The process of reducing food waste can be achieved through a variety of approaches, some of which are examined below.
- Buying Products with Less Packaging
One of the key factors many Australians take into consideration when looking to reduce their food waste is both the amount of packaging a product has and the effectiveness of packaging. There has been an increasing rejection of unnecessary packaging as more and more Australians look to decrease their environmental impact and limit their food waste. There has been an upsurge in those opting to purchase products that are conscious of the amount of plastic they use and who use packaging strategically to ensure preservation while limiting the amount of waste produced. Manufacturers may be inclined to reconsider the effectiveness of the wrapping and boxes used for their products and explore the potential to optimise packaging in order to reduce food waste and therefore appeal to eco-conscious Australians. Products with packaging that is effective and sustainable are more likely to be purchased by Australians who are looking to decrease their food waste.
- Planning ahead
Australians are also taking steps to plan their shopping trips in conjunction with what they plan to eat for the week so that they reduce the amount of excess ingredients they have left in their homes. Many may decide to go shopping with a specific and limited list of items that will fulfil exactly what they need to eat for the week to reduce the chance that they are left with leftover food that they will then have to throw away. They may also be more likely to repurpose any leftovers they have. Australians often also opt for meal-kit services that assist them in planning out the meals they are eating for the week and also provides them with the exact amount of ingredients that they will require to make a range of different dishes. Buying products that are precise in their portion sizes and will be suitable for their intended use for the week is becoming increasingly important to Australians as they aim to limit the amount of unused ingredients they are throwing away.
- Buying imperfect looking foods
Another vital thing to note is that due to the increasing desire of many to eat more sustainably, Australians are becoming more and more willing to purchase foods that appear imperfect. While manufacturers are often inclined to discard products that do not meet their aesthetic criteria, Australians are beginning to disregard these imperfections and purchase these products anyway so that the food is not wasted. Initiatives have been developed that emphasise the nutritional value of the foods that we eat rather than their appearance. Messages such as these are a crucial factor in encouraging more Australians to purchase imperfect products, which may also help to reduce disposal costs for manufacturers.
- Familiarising themselves with the use-by date
Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the significance of the use by and best before dates and are learning how to better differentiate between the two. Australians are now often conscious of the fact that the best before date is a suggestion, whereas the use-by date is final and food should not be consumed past this point. In order to reduce food waste, some people may continue to use a product that is past its suggested best before date as long as it does not seem off.
- Storing food properly
Many people aiming to reduce the amount of waste they discard are also starting to pay more attention to instructions from manufacturers on how to correctly store the food to ensure maximum freshness. Australians who are striving to reduce the amount of waste they produce are looking to manufacturers for assistance and advice regarding how to most effectively preserve their food products. Manufacturers should aim to make this information as readily available as possible to ensure that customers can achieve the preservation goals they require from their food product.
Composting is also an increasingly popular practice among those Australians looking to recycle their food waste and avoid it going into landfill. Many are incorporating composting into their food routine and aiming to throw away as few food scraps as possible. They are ensuring that every part of a product, particularly fresh produce, is utilised in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.