This project aims to provide new temperature and consumer data to understand how red meat wastage could be reduced in Australian households.
Considerable red meat is wasted in Australia. A study by the Australian Food Cold Chain Council suggests 3.5% of total meat production (155,000 tonnes), worth $670 million, is wasted in the cold food chain, before even reaching households.
More meat is wasted once it gets home- the Fight Food Waste CRC Household Food Waste National Benchmark Study found that 26% of Australian households throw away meat each week.
Uneaten food has wide-ranging environmental impacts, including unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions from food production and landfill, and unnecessary use of farmland and freshwater. Reducing food waste at home, and especially red meat, could save Australian households money and have significant environmental benefits.
This research project will increase our understanding of why households waste red meat by exploring fridge performance and consumer behaviour, and how these domains interact in households.
This project aims to:
To achieve these aims, we have designed a mixed methods study for the pilot phase of this project.
We will collect real-time data on temperature and electricity use from fridges in Australian households. In addition, we will interview households about how they buy, store, consume, and dispose of meat. The interviews will take place in spring/summer and autumn/winter, so we can track how meat consumption, use, and wastage change across different times of the year.
In reducing red meat wastage, this project will potentially contribute directly to substantial greenhouse gas savings, with multiple societal and environmental benefits.
The findings of the first phase of the project will provide valuable information to retailers about how Australian consumers store and consume meat. With this data, retailers can be more certain about shelf life, and therefore use fewer markdowns and discard less product in stores. Consumers will also have greater surety that the product they are consuming is still fresh, reducing wastage and contributing to health and wellbeing.
A potential second phase of the project would explore how the findings might be used to create education campaigns and easy-to-understand and effective interventions to engage consumers in reducing meat waste.