The National Food Waste Prevention Project is a partnership between the WasteMINZ Behaviour Change Sector Group and the University of Otago. The project aims to quantify food waste in New Zealand by analysing stages of the supply chain, understanding barriers and enablers to food waste minimisation and identifying opportunities to reduce waste. To date three separate projects have been undertaken: Household food waste (2013); Supermarket food waste (2017); Cafe and restaurant food waste (2018).
An initial literature review into household food waste was undertaken in 2013 and found that much of the available information on food waste in New Zealand was out-of-date and based on small sample sizes. This research can be viewed here. WRAP who designed the Love Food Hate Waste campaign in the UK was approached for permission to use their research methodology. This enabled research undertaken in New Zealand to be comparable with data collected in the UK.
A technical working group was set up in December 2013 to create standardised tools and templates, so that councils across New Zealand could conduct food waste research using the same methodology and capture key attitudes and behaviours towards food waste.
Otago University funded a summer internship to trial WRAP’s methodology and conducted food waste audits, surveys and kitchen diaries with the assistance of Dunedin City Council and EnviroWaste . The technical working group then further refined and developed the research methodology, using the information provided by Otago University. The actual research began in March 2014 and was completed in March 2015.
Three types of research were undertaken, these were:
These audits separated out food waste from kerbside collections. The food waste was then analysed to understand how much food waste is:
These audits provided information on the most commonly wasted foods and the costs of food waste to households. Bin audits were undertaken in Auckland, Waipa, New Plymouth, Wellington, Selwyn District and the Canterbury region.
The results of the national research can be viewed here.
The aim of this survey was to provide nationally representative data on attitudes and behaviours that lead to food waste. The information was used to inform the development and evaluation of national and local campaigns to raise awareness of food waste. The survey provided greater insight into why people waste food, their attitudes and perceptions. Specifically, it explored the barriers and benefits influencing a set of target behaviours that we believe are the main causes of food waste. Building on the qualitative work, it sought to understand the relative strength of these barriers and benefits, and how they operate at a whole of population level. The survey was completed in September 2014 with 1,365 participants.
The results of this research can be viewed here.
These provide insight into why food is being thrown out. Households were asked to keep a diary for one week and record:
This research provides insight into why specific types of food are being thrown out. It also reveals how much and what kinds of food waste are being disposed of through composting, in-sink waste disposal units and by feeding to animals. A pre-diary questionnaire and a post-diary questionnaire were used as the process of keeping a diary and raising awareness of an issue can sometimes change participant’s behaviour. Kitchen diaries were completed in Nelson/ Tasman, Wellington, New Plymouth.
Auckland Council conducted 27 in-depth interviews with individuals who were responsible for purchasing and/or preparing food within their households.The interviewees resided in various locations around the Auckland region and each spent a week recording their food waste (both avoidable and unavoidable) in a food waste diary before being interviewed.
As a result of this research the Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand Campaign was launched in 2016.
Research into supermarket food waste was conducted by Otago University in 2017.
Site audits were conducted in 4 locations around the country at New World, Countdown and PAK nSAVE supermarkets. Food waste destined for landfill, composting, farms and food rescue was weighed and analysed.
In-depth interviews were held with store managers to understand the barriers to minimising foodwaste and diverting it from landfill and the enablers. The full thesis can be viewed below
Goodman-Smith, F. (2018). A quantitative and qualitative study of retail food waste in New Zealand (Thesis, Master of Science). University of Otago
and the shortened presentation A quantitative and qualitative study of retail food waste in New Zealand
Research into supermarket food waste was conducted by Otago University in partnership with WasteMINZ in 2017 -2018.
Site audits were conducted in 20 cafes and restaurants around the country by the University of Otago and WasteMINZ. Foodwaste was collected and analzyed to understand how much food waste is:
The results of the research: Food waste in the cafe and restaurant sector in New Zealand
30 cafes and restaurants were surveyed to understand the barriers to minimising foodwaste and diverting it from landfill and the enablers. Two separate thesis were published with the results of this research.
Jones, E. (2018). An investigation into food waste produced in New Zealand restaurants and cafés. (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago.
Chisnall, S. (2018). A Taste for Consumption: Food Waste Generation in New Zealand Cafés and Restaurants. (Thesis, Master of Dietetics). University of Otago.
If you would like more information about these projects or any of the research which has been undertaken, please contact [email protected] or ph 09 476 7164