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Food Rescue in NZ: Welcome

Food Rescue in NZ

Food waste is a growing social, environmental and economic problem.


Even though you may not realise it, Food waste is a major issue in New Zealand.

  • New Zealanders throw away 122,547 tonnes of food a year. That is equivalent to 213 jumbo jets of food that has to go somewhere to rot, instead of being eaten.

  • On average that's a weight equivalent to 8 sacks of potatoes per family each year!


New Zealand produces enough food to feed 20 million people, yet every day tonnes are thrown out, and most of it is perfectly edible. Food is so often the starting point for social agencies working with their clients to break the cycle of need.

The fresh, high quality food we at Foodbank Canterbury provide offers more nutrition than the usual canned and dry goods, filling a gap for so many who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

It was Ghandi who said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

The difference we can make adds up to some big changes, and clearly impacts our region  environmentally, socially and economically.

What is Food Rescue?

Food rescue is the process of safely recovering surplus food from the supply chain and distributing it to people in need. Not only does food rescue help ensure that hundreds of Cantabrians have access to quality meals, it is also key to helping combat food waste.

There are two main reasons why we throw away food:

  1. we don’t eat our leftovers

  2. food goes bad because it is not stored properly.

The foods we waste the most are bread, leftovers, potatoes, apples, chicken and bananas. Check out the table below!

All of this food is worth about $872 million each year. Each Kiwi family on average throws out 79 kilos of uneaten food every year.  That’s about $560 and 3 trolley loads going straight into the red-lidded bin off to landfill – and producing 325,975 tonnes of carbon emissions! (WasteMINZ)

And yet across New Zealand, 270,000 kids go to school every morning without breakfast or go to bed each night without dinner. Based on information from the Dept of Statistics, that’s 1 in every 4 school-going children under the age of 16!

So many comment to us: 'Surely not here in New Zealand?'

Yes! Here in New Zealand!

Avoid Waste at Home – some useful tips


Reducing food waste worldwide begins with each and every one of us. You waste one third of the food you purchase. Here are some tips to help reduce that waste:


At home

  • First In - First Out. Place older products near front of your fridge/pantry
  • Write down what you waste (Time to freeze that half loaf a week?)
  • Designate a dinner each week to 'use-it-up'
  • Use tired food (Smoothies for fruit? Soup for vegetables?)
  • Donate, don't toss!


At the supermarket

  • Shop smart. Use grocery lists. Avoid impulse buying.
  • Buy what you need. (2 carrots, not a whole bag)
  • Buy funny-looking. Odd sizes are usually thrown away.


During meals

  • Less on the plate. No more than your appetite.
  • Split dishes at home and in restaurants.
  • Take home doggie bags (+ bring your own container!)
  • No tray at the cafeteria - you'll waste less
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