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Food Insecurity and Food Waste in Australia


In Australia, we throw away an unbelievable amount of perfectly edible food every day.

At the same time, a growing number of Australians find themselves struggling to make ends meet. It is often assumed that in an economically prosperous and produce abundant country like Australia, food insecurity is not a big problem for many people. However, the reality is very different. In the course of a year, more than 1 in 6 experience food insecurity in Australia – that’s 4 million people. More confronting still, is 22% of the 4million people are children. For many people, food insecurity is not a once-off, but a regular occurrence. Food insecurity occurs when people lack secure access to enough amounts of safe, nutritious and appropriate food.

Food insecurity can affect all kinds of people in our society, from single parents, to students, to elderly people struggling to manage after the loss of a spouse. Families on low incomes or in crisis, recent migrants, and even children are among those struggling to afford enough food. In fact, approximately one third of all those experiencing food insecurity in Australia are children. Food insecurity is an issue that does not only affect people who are homeless in our communities. It is in many ways largely unseen and may well be affecting the lives of people living in your own street.

The causes of food insecurity in Australia are complex. Declines in housing affordability and inflation of food prices in Australia over the last few decades have left many people with shrinking margins for groceries, and one unexpected bill, illness, income reduction or relationship breakdown from finding themselves food insecure. For some, the decision can come down to whether to pay rent or buy food for that week. While the reasons behind food insecurity may be complicated, the bottom line isn’t – in short: we throw good food away while people go hungry.

To date, SecondBite has redistributed over 48 million kilograms of food nationally, providing well over 96 million meals. SecondBite has operations in every state, and supplies fresh, nutritious food to over 1,300 agencies nationally, completely free of charge.

2018/2019 financial year, SecondBite rescued 19.4 million kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables, equivalent to nearly 40 million meals, or over 104,000 meals every single day.

While solving the problem of food insecurity for 4 million Australians requires a comprehensive set of approaches, SecondBite is playing an important part in providing access to fresh, nutritious food for people in need across Australia every day.


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