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Food waste research


New research commissioned by Sustainability Victoria in May 2018 has found that young Victorians and parents with children are key contributors to the state’s food waste dilemma, which equates to an estimated cost of $5.4 billion annually.

The findings showed that Generation Z are more flippant with their grocery shopping, throwing out a reported $115 of food waste weekly, compared to Baby Boomers who reported just over a tenth of that at $17 per week and Builders at just $11.

Some of the key findings from the research include:


  • Most respondents (92%) felt some level of guilt throwing away food
  • Females feel more guilt when throwing out food than men (62% vs 47%)
  • Males estimate they throw out double what their female counterparts do ($54 vs $29 per week)
  • Buying food products the household does not need or that aren’t on the shopping list are both associated with higher food waste costs
  •  Lower food waste has been found in low-income compared to high-income households and food waste has also been shown to increase with household income.


  • Generation Z (Millennials) report an average yearly waste of $5,977 per annum, ten times more than that reported by the Builder generation ($574)
  • Close to half (42%) of households with children under 16 reported that their children were the most responsible for food wastage within the household.
  • Boomers (58%) and Builders (56%) are significantly more likely to indicate they try to reduce food waste than generations X, Y and Z (41%, 35% and 26% respectively). 


  • An estimated $5.4 billion worth of food is wasted each year in Victoria by households.
  • Almost half (46%) of the Victorian population are not aware how much money they are throwing in the bin in the form of food waste. The average Victorian household wastes an estimated $2,136 per annum in food
  • More than three quarters (78%) of respondents report that they are very or fairly concerned about saving money on grocery shopping.


  • More than half (55%) of Victorians recognise they are wasting resources when they waste food
  • Only one third (32%) are aware that they are impacting climate change through wasting food.



Sustainability Victoria commissioned this research as part of their Love Food Hate Waste, Love a List campaign, which encourages everyday Australians to commit to shopping with a list for four weeks. A key element of the campaign is a short documentary hosted by comedian Cal Wilson that profiles three Victorian families learning simple tactics to reduce their food waste. Find out more at 

Research details:


  • Commissioned by Sustainability Victoria and conducted by QDOS Research
  • Sample size: 1,001 Victorians aged 18+
  • Online survey conducted between 18th – 22nd May 2018
  • A non-interlocking quota was set out to achieve a representative sample of gender, age and locality (regional, rural and metropolitan).
  • The below age ranges were used in this study:
  • Gen Z: 1995-2010
  • Gen Y: 1980-1994
  • Gen X: 1965-1979
  • Boomers: 1946-1964
  • Builders: 1925-1945



Previous research to inform the campaign

The Love Food Hate Waste Victoria campaign is based on Sustainability Victoria's 2014 research into the domestic waste stream across Victoria, providing the most comprehensive assessment yet of the food that Victorian households throw away each week.

The results found that Victorian households throw away 400,000 tonnes of food waste. While some of this is unavoidable food waste such as vegetable peelings and tea bags, much of it is avoidable – 64% of the food waste we throw away, a total of 250,000 tonnes per year is food waste that could have been avoided.

The research also found that to up to 25% of the waste that we throw away in our household garbage bins each week is made up of avoidable food waste.

That’s more than enough food waste to fill the Eureka Tower or to fill 156 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The most common foods thrown away (by weight) are bread and pastries, cooked meals, dairy and eggs and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Together these pieces of research provide insight into the type of food waste generated from Victorian households. This research and analysis has informed the development of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign and the food waste related figures published on this website.

Love your food

Each year Victorian households throw out 4,500 tonnes of canned and frozen vegetables and salad.