A new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), supported by federal funding, aims to reduce food waste in Australia.

Launched this week, the Fight Food CRC, backed by a $30 million grant from the federal government's CRC program, will support industry-led collaborations between researchers, industry and the community to address the issue of food waste and help the government to fulfil its National Food Waste Strategy commitment to halve food waste in Australia.

At present, food waste costs Australia $20 billion a year. The CRC aims to:

• reduce food waste throughout the value chain;

• transform unavoidable waste into innovative high-value products; and

• engage with industry and consumers to deliver behavioral change.

Sustainability Victoria welcomed the announcement and said $150,000 from SV's Love Food Hate Waste program will research consumer behaviours concerning food waste, and reducing food waste in the supply chain.

"As Victoria is one of the nation's major food producers and processors, this is a particularly important issue," SV CEO Stan Krpan said.

"The CRC ticks boxes in terms of how we can do more to efficiently produce and process food and deal with waste.  

"The University of Melbourne's 2016 Melbourne Foodprint report found Melbournians wasted more than 200kg of food per person every year. It‘s not just a waste of resources along the food production and processing chain; it's a major producer of greenhouses gas emissions as the food decomposes."

Krpan said the project would help primary producers, food processors, retailers, food rescue agencies and technology and service providers.

"It will also help local government to contain the cost of operating landfills and long-term, that's good for everyone. It will also reinforce Sustainability Victoria's work to reduce the production of waste or all types."

"There are many opportunities to develop and use products derived from primary production that is otherwise wasted.

"We already have a composting industry which uses some food waste, and there is the potential to feed it into digesters which breaks it down, creates gas to drive electricity and reduces what goes to landfill. All this can be done at the point of production or on a regional basis." 

Applications for the next CRC grant selection round are expected to open in May 2018.