Worried about the cost of living? Take action with the Zero Food Waste Challenge

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

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

“It’s no secret that Kiwis waste too much food. Recent studies show that the average Kiwi household throws away at least $1,500 worth of groceries every year – that’s a huge amount of money to waste in the trash. We encourage 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 left to rot in landfills accounts for 10% of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of carbon emissions behind the United States and China! Collectively, our habits not only damage our precious environment, but they also cost us a lot of money,” she says.

The Challenge is a week-long event encouraging households and businesses to try their hand at putting as little of their weekly groceries in the trash as possible. Registration is free, registration opens August 24 at www.zerofoodwastechallenge.com and the event runs from September 19-25. Participants will receive daily online content filled with tips, tricks, inspiration and advice, as well as major prizes and products. offers and the opportunity to share your journey towards a Zero Food Waste lifestyle.

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

“Almost a third of the food we throw away is vegetables or fruit. Carefully selecting, storing and using your fresh produce means you can maximize both the nutritional content and the value of your weekly produce store,” she says.

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

Countdown, a supporter of the 5+ A Day Charitable Trust, is also supporting the First Challenge 2022, which Shale hopes will become a sustainable platform to promote awareness and action around the fight against food waste, as well as highlight the important role local food rescue charities across Aotearoa play in feeding 1 in 5 food insecure New Zealanders.

“New Zealand’s goal is to halve food waste by 2030, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This is going to require a change in behavior from all of us, and we want that change to happen in a positive, giving, and community-focused atmosphere,” says Shale.

In addition to supporting the health of the planet and lightening the weekly budget, Shale says the challenge gives participants a boost for their own well-being.

“Joining this movement provides a renewed sense of well-being to whānau who are tired and isolated from the community. Taking action, big or small, provides a sense of accomplishment, belonging and, at the same time, better mental health,” says Shale.

Food waste highlights*

· A third of all food produced is not consumed.

· Food in landfills creates 10% of global warming methane emissions.

The average Kiwi family throws away about $1520 worth of food per year

· Nationally, Kiwi households waste enough food to feed Hamilton for a year.

· Eco-anxiety is a real problem with 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, New Zealand 2021

Rabobank/KiwiHarvest food waste survey April 2022

About Zero Food Waste

Zero Food Waste Aotearoa New Zealand is a social and environmental enterprise founded in 2021 around a kitchen table by a group of close friends who are fed up with food waste. The organization creates inspiring initiatives that spark collaboration, conversation and change, encouraging each of us to face the climate crisis with hope and a smile.

About 5+ per day

The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust was established in 2007 to benefit all Kiwis, especially children. The Trust is committed to increasing the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables for better health among all New Zealanders. We encourage all Kiwis to eat five or more servings of fresh, colorful vegetables and two servings of fruit each day for health and vitality. Our key messages are in line with Department of Health and World Health Organization recommendations and our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The 5+ A Day Charitable Trust is funded by voluntary contributions from New Zealand’s pan-producing industry.

Find more ideas, tips and recipes on the 5+ A Day website, www.5aday.co.nz, or follow @5adaynz on social media.

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About Keith Johnson

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