Experts are advising Kiwis to become more conscious of their food wastage with new research showing more than 70% of NZ households discard uneaten food every week.
The HelloFresh study of 1,000 New Zealanders shows three quarters (76 per cent) of the population discard food to the value of $25 every week, which for a household on a budget of $150 represents around a sixth of their total food spend for the week.
Aggregating the total amount of food thrown away across all households in New Zealand would represent $3 billion in food wastage each year.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of New Zealanders have felt guilty about throwing away food.
This emotional response was noticeably higher in females (79 per cent) and young adults (85 per cent).
The research shows how we classify food waste varies between individuals however eight in 10 (80 per cent) of respondents define it as throwing out some form of uneaten food – including leftover meals, uncooked food or discarding takeaways.
Leftover cooked meals are the most likely food waste making up 30 per cent of responses, with uneaten fruit and vegetables next most common on 27 per cent and baked goods such as bread-making up a tenth of food waste. Unsurprisingly, single-person households were the most likely group to have leftover bread or baked goods (33 per cent) potentially due to the lack of small portion sizes available from food retailers such as supermarkets.
A lack of meal planning is given as the most common reason for having leftover food – with a quarter (25 per cent) of households admitting this type of waste. This lack of meal planning was dominant in single-person households where almost half (48 per cent) said this was the reason.
Eating out more than planned or purchasing takeaways catches out a sixth (17 per cent) of Kiwis while purchasing excess quantities at the supermarket is the next most likely reason for a seventh (14 per cent) of respondents.
The research also shows 30 per cent of Kiwi households have made an effort to reduce food waste as a result of COVID.