The Zero Food Waste Challenge 

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This September, the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust will join forces with Aotearoa’s first ever Zero Food Waste Challenge to promote a rethink of how we manage our food, how we view food waste and how a few small changes can make a big difference to our household budgets.

Veronica Shale, Founder of Zero Food Waste New Zealand, says food waste is a problem and an opportunity for nearly every household in the country.

“It’s no secret that Kiwis waste too much food. Recent studies show the average Kiwi household throws away at least $1500 worth of groceries every year – that’s a huge amount of money to lose in the bin. We’re encouraging every New Zealander to save money and help save the planet with a week of conversation and action to change those habits for good. 

“Food that is left to rot buried in landfills accounts for 10 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions globally. In fact, if food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of carbon emissions behind the US and China! Collectively our habits are not only damaging our precious environment, but they’re also costing us a heap of money,” she says. 

The Challenge is a week-long event encouraging households and companies to have a go at putting as little as possible of their weekly food shop in the bin. It’s free to sign up, registrations open on August 24th at  and the event takes place from September 19th to 25th with participants set to receive daily online content packed with tips, tricks, inspiration and advice along with major prizes and product offers and the opportunity to share your journey to a Zero Food Waste lifestyle.  

5+ A Day Project Manager, Carmel Ireland says the Zero Food Waste Challenge initiative is aligned to the Trust’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

“Nearly one third of the food that we throw out is vegetables or fruit. Selecting, storing and carefully using your fresh produce means you can maximise both the nutritional content and the value of your weekly fruit and vegetable shop,” she says.

“The Challenge is a great chance for us to show you how to make the most of your produce from skin to stem with some delicious recipes and tips. Together we can all do our bit to reduce waste and contribute to a healthier planet,” says Ireland.

Countdown, supporter of the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust, is also backing the inaugural 2022 Challenge, which Shale hopes will become an enduring platform to promote awareness and action around tackling food waste as well as highlighting the important role that local food rescue charities across Aotearoa play in feeding the 1 in 5 New Zealanders who experience food insecurity.

“New Zealand’s goal is to halve food waste by 2030, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. That’s going to take a behaviour shift from each and every one of us, and we want this change to happen in an atmosphere that’s positive, generous and community driven,” says Shale.

In addition to supporting the health of the planet and easing the weekly budget, Shale says the Challenge offers participants a boost to their own wellbeing.

“Joining this movement offers a renewed sense of wellbeing for whanau who are fatigued and isolated from the community. Taking action, big or small, offers a sense of achievement, belonging and along with that, improved mental health,” says Shale.

Food Waste Fast Facts*

  • A third of all food produced goes uneaten. 
  • Food in landfills creates 10 percent of the methane emissions warming the planet. 
  • The average Kiwi family throws out about $1520 of food per year
  • Nationally, Kiwi homes waste enough food to feed Hamilton for a year.
  • Eco-anxiety is a real issue amongst our tamariki. 
  • 1 in 5 New Zealanders face food insecurity. 


United Nations Environment Programme, Food Index Report 2021 

Love Food Hate Waste Scotland 2021 

Kore Haikai - Zero Hunger Collective Aotearoa, NZ 2021 

Rabobank/KiwiHarvest Food Waste Survey April 2022

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