Aussie billionaire declares war on food wastage

Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, March 28 (IANS) Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt on Tuesday declared war on food wastage, a problem that costs the nation's economy $15 billon each year.

Pratt, a paper, packaging and recycling magnate, said at the fifth annual Global Food Forum in Melbourne that food wastage had become "our nation's hidden crisis" as more than 9 million tonnes of food was wasted annually.

"Food waste is not only costly to business and households, but two million children go hungry and it's our nation's hidden crisis," said Pratt, executive chairman of Visy.

"Put simply, stopping food waste would effectively double your product sales to end-customers from the same farm footprint."

Pratt's speech came as Australian Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg announced plans to convene a forum in Melbourne ahead of the government's first National Food Waste Summit in November.

"The challenge before us is considerable. Food waste is estimated to cost the Australian economy in the order of ($15 billion) annually and compounds social disadvantage. Solutions will require cooperation between governments, industry and other stakeholders," Frydenberg said in a letter to roundtable invitees.

It was announced at the forum that the philanthropic arms of the wealthy Myer and Fairfax families were bankrolling Australia's first ever surplus food online marketplace which they believe could one day be floated on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).