Skip to content
National News Current Affairs, Political

Research reveals $1.2 billion profit from food waste

The Australia Institute 2 mins read

Media release | Tuesday September 19 2023

Australian food retailers make $1.2 billion in profit each year from selling food that households waste, according to new research from The Australia Institute.

This profit means that the major food retailers, such as supermarket duopoly Coles and Woolworths, have a strong incentive to delay reforms that would reduce food waste.

Progress has been slow on reforms such as removing ‘best before’ dates from products that do not need them, and Australia looks unlikely to meet the goal of halving food waste by 2030.

Key points

  • The 2021 National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study found Australia wasted 7.6 million tonnes of food a year, equivalent to 152 Sydney Harbour Bridges.
  • Households wasted food worth $19.3 billion in 2018-19, or an average cost of between $2,000 and $2,500 per household.
  • Calculating the average food retail industry profit at 6%, Australia Institute analysis has found supermarkets are making $1.2 billion annually from wasted food.
  • This provides food retailers with a strong incentive to delay reforms that would reduce food waste, such as changes to ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ date labelling, as recommended in the National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study.
  • Australia Institute polling shows strong support for policies that would reduce food waste, including labelling reform (78% support), relaxed cosmetic standards (72%) and kerbside collection of food waste (75%).

“We know how to reduce food waste, but the supermarkets have $1.2 billion reasons to delay reforms that would reduce this profit,” Australia Institute Senior Economist Matt Grudnoff said.

“Labelling reforms would help reduce food waste, but companies like Woolworths insist such discussions ‘are in their infancy,’ years after being proposed.

“Whether the food is consumed or wasted is beside the point as far as supermarkets are concerned. But reforms to reduce the amount of food people purchase – and in turn waste – will inevitably lead to reduced profits.

"The government should pick a side – are they trying to help consumers or supermarket profits? If they are serious about tackling the cost of living crisis they should be helping consumers with one of their biggest hip pocket burdens – groceries.

“It’s high time for the government to act on food labelling reform and the other recommendations of the National Food Waste Strategy Feasibility Study."

It proposed removing ‘best before’ dates from products that do not need them, scrapping ‘sell by’/’display until’ dates and extending allowable ‘use by’ dates for long life products.

“If that means trimming the profits that Coles and Woolies make from food waste, well that’s a price I think most Australians would be happy to pay,” Mr Grudnoff said.

Contact details:

Georgie Moore
0477 779 928


More from this category

  • Political, Property Real Estate
  • 22/05/2024
  • 11:58
Everybody's Home

*** MEDIA ALERT *** People’s Commission into the Housing Crisis

***MEDIA ALERT*** A press conference will be held in Sydney on Thursday morning on the first day of hearings for Australia’s first People’s Commission into the Housing Crisis, convened by Everybody’s Home. WHO: Commissioner Doug Cameron (former Labor Senator for NSW) Commissioner Prof Nicole Gurran (University of Sydney housing expert) National spokesperson for Everybody’s Home Maiy Azize Housing and homelessness organisations + unions WHEN: Thursday 23 May at 11.30am sharp WHERE: Main building entrance of University of Sydney’s RD Watt Building on Science Road, Camperdown NSW 2050. Media are invited to attend and report on all sessions however only the…

  • National News Current Affairs, Sport Recreation
  • 22/05/2024
  • 05:30
Embrace Kids/ Littlelion PR


22 MAY 2024– Elite athletes have come together today to share their experiences of body shaming to help change negative body image behaviour within…

  • Contains:
  • International News, Political
  • 21/05/2024
  • 12:38
Charles Darwin University

EXPERT: No drastic change in Iran after President Ebrahim Raisi’s death

21 MAY, 2023 Who: Charles Darwin University political expert Dr Nathan Franklin. Topics: The politics of Islam. The future of the Iranian regime. Contact details: Call +61 8 8946 6721 or email to arrange an interview. Quotes attributable to Dr Nathan Franklin: "Celebrations will be short lived for the enemies of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. This is because those wanting drastic change will be disappointed. The regime will immediately do what they do best, which is regime survival. The supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the number one man in the country, because Iran is a…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.