Federal funding announced for Food Waste research centre

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The Turnbull government will provide $30 million in grant funding to a Woolworths-backed research centre looking to help tackle Australia’s food waste problem.

Announced last Friday by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the Fight Food Waste Co-operative Research Centre has been given $30 million in grant funding by the government to find better ways to use $4000 in food that average Aussie households throw away every year.

Woolies, a founding member of the program’s advisory group, said it welcomed the move, signing on to build on its prior involvement in the creation of the government’s national food waste strategy.

The funding will be used to identify opportunities to reduce food waste across the entirety of the grocery supply chain, assistant minister for science, jobs and innovation, Zed Seselja said.

“This funding will be used to identify opportunities and solutions to reduce food wastage from paddock to plate,” Assistant Minister Seselja said.

Woolworths’ Food Group’s head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said that there’s more work to be done to address Australia’s food waste problem and that the partnership would enable the supermarket giant to play a “constructive role”.

“We have a long-standing public commitment to work towards zero food waste to landfill, with a range of programs already underway and others in development across the Woolworths Food Group,” he said.

“Partnerships in programs like the Fight Food Waste CRC allow us to play a constructive role alongside researchers, government and industry partners to address this very important issue, and we’re delighted to play a leading role in the retail sector.”

Woolworths already has withstanding partnerships with hunger relief groups like OzHarvest, FareShare and Foodbank, which see its food waste diverted to places where it can be used.

It has diverted more than 50 million kilograms of food from landfill to food rescue, farmers and organic composting in the last twelve months.

This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Woolworths has been a member of the Fight Food Waste Co-operative Research Centre for some time.

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