Fight Food Waste centre at Adelaide Uni's Waite campus leads national research and action

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre at Adelaide University's Waite campus has been funded for 10 years.

South Australia is leading Australia’s battle to combat its $20 billion food waste bill through the $132 million Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) headquartered at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus in Urrbrae, home to the southern hemisphere’s largest concentration of agriculture, food and wine research.

The Fight Food Waste centre, opened in 2018, stemmed from a bid started two years earlier and coordinated by the state department of primary industries and regions South Australia (PIRSA). The bid involved 60 industry participants from around Australia and overseas, who raised $103 million for the centre. This was bolstered by $30 million from the federal government under its strategy to halve Australia's food waste by 2030.

With 10-year funding, the centre seeks to bring together industry, government and research bodies to tackle the growing international problem of food waste.  It aims to reduce food waste through the chain from paddock to plate, turn unavoidable waste into innovative high-value products and engage with industry and consumers to change behaviour.

Each year, Australia wastes 40% of the food it produces and individual households throw away nearly $4,000 worth of unused food. Another 2.2 million tonnes is estimated to be discarded by the commercial and industrial sector, bringing the total waste to about 5.3 million tonnes of food each year. This harms Australia’s reputation as a sustainable and trusted producer of premium food products.

Less food waste ending up in landfill also reduces greenhouse gases. Food waste rotting in landfill emits nearly six times the greenhouse gases as the global aviation industry.

Although the Fight Food Waste centre, with 200 staff, has nodes interstate, it has been based in South Australia because of the state’s leadership in sustainability initiatives, such as container recycling and banning plastic bags.

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