Australians are still throwing away too many unused vegetables, despite buying less in their weekly shop as the cost of living bites.
About 32 per cent of people are binning fresh vegetables at least once a week, even though more than half are buying fewer items, data from Birds Eye’s latest frozen food snapshot shows.
Australians aged 18 to 35 are the biggest culprits, with nearly half saying they throw out vegetables such as lettuce, broccoli and carrots each week.
“You would think this generation that is so climate-conscious, that is one of the most affected by the cost of living would be more thrifty with the way they cook,” chef and sustainability advocate Alice Zaslavsky told AAP.
“But there’s been a loss of ‘granny skills’ – the information we should have been gifted by our parents and our grandparents.”
People in the over-55 age group are more likely to use up their fresh vegetables, with only 17 per cent needing to bin unused produce at the end of the week.
Cost-of-living pressures are also changing the way people shop, with a quarter saying they are buying more frozen foods.
About 70 per cent are doing so to save money, while 41 per cent say they are trying to reduce their household food waste.
More than 7.6 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year, with Australia Institute research showing retailers are making $1.2 billion from selling produce that ends up as waste.
Turning to the frozen veg aisle at the supermarket is one great way to combat Australia’s rising food waste crisis, Ms Zaslavsky said.
She said frozen produce can also be better for you.
“Buying vegetables that have been snap-frozen on the farm within hours of being picked, they sometimes have more nutrition,” Ms Zaslavsky said.
“And once you cook it, you won’t be able to tell the difference.”
For those who prefer to buy fresh, there are ways to stop the unused veg from ending up in the bin.
Ms Zaslavsky said placing vegetables such as carrots, celery and asparagus into a jar of water can help refresh the wilted produce and make them crisp and crunchy again.
If you don’t have time for that, chucking the veg into a pan and sweating it down can make all the difference.
“Give it a chance before you chuck it out,” Ms Zaslavsky said.
“At the moment, we’re facing an intersection of crises – there’s food waste, there’s cost of living, and they’ve just released findings around vegetable intake being quite low for Australian adults.
“All three of those things can be combated by people thinking laterally and using what they’ve got.”
(Australian Associated Press)