Milking more from dairy products saves money, cuts food waste

Each year the average Australian wastes a whopping 300 kilograms of food. That works out to the average household spending at least $2,000 on food that ends up in the bin.

It’s hurting our hip pockets and Australia’s – food waste costs our nation $36 billion a year, with households contributing to about half that cost.

So what is being done about this problem?

There is a goal to halve food waste by 2030, a goal being driven by Stop Food Waste Australia. This is a powerful partnership of organisations along the farm-to-fork food supply chain and includes the National Farmers’ Federation, all tiers of government and organisations like Food Bank.

Dairy farmers like the Nicholsons from NSW work hard to produce milk for Australians. Did you know, in a day the average cow drinks 100 litres of water, eats 100kg food to produce 25 litres of milk. That milk could make 2.5kg of cheese!

Dairy delivers food waste plan

There are also individual commodities stepping up to the plate, like dairy which has been identified as one of the six highest Australian food waste sources.

It has published a plan to reduce food waste, identifying 10 key actions like investment into innovation, partnering with food rescue organisations, sustainable packaging, and teaching consumers about labels and storage.

Dairy Australia Managing Director, Dr David Nation, said the plan sought to maximise the number of people dairy could feed, add value to dairy products and reduce environmental impacts.

“The dairy industry has been working to reduce food waste and extend shelf life of products for decades. This new commitment takes us much further, leading the agriculture sector on sustainability and setting a goal to halve food waste by 2030,” he said.

Just this one sector reducing food waste could save millions of dollars annually.

Bits of leftover cheese and nearly finished packets of pasta can be turned into a delicious family meal. Get the recipe for the Odd knobs mac n cheese.

What we can do at home

Educating Australians on how they can reduce food waste by storing it properly, how to buy seasonally, and sharing recipes that use the whole food or leftovers has been the core message behind a collaboration between Australian Farmers and culinary experts Cornersmith.

Not only is reducing food waste about keeping food out of landfill, it’s about reducing the cost of living, and celebrating the nutritious and delicious food Australian farmers grow.

So far, people have learnt what to with the bits of cheese leftover from a dinner party, how to care for their greens so they don’t end up slimy, and even recipes for those carrots that have gone bendy after being in the fridge too long.

In only takes a few small changes to make a big difference!

Jaimee Edwards and Alex Elliott-Howery show just how easy it is to wrap greens so they last longer.

Stacey Davidson

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