Food Waste Matters

June CEO check-in

Steve Lapidge


Hello and welcome to this special update edition of food waste matters brought to you by the Fight Food Waste Hub and Honey and Fox. I’m Andrew Robertson and joining me today to tell us about what has been up to for the last couple of months is Steve Lapidge, CEO of the Fight Food Waste CRC.



Andrew: Hello, and welcome to this special update edition of Food Waste Matters. Brought to you by the Fight Food Waste CRC and Honey & Fox.I’m Andrew Robertson and joining me today to tell us about what has been up to for the last couple of months is Steve Lapidge, CEO of the Fight Food Waste CRC.G’day, Steve.Steve: How are you, Andrew?Andrew: I’m well, thanks.Why don’t you give us a bit of an update on what you and the team have been up to over the last couple of months?Steve: Excellent, thank you.Yeah, May has been a really busy month for us. Start of May, we had the whole delivery team, which is about 30 now, across our two divisions of Stop Food Waste Australia and Fight Food Waste CRC and the board in town. Of course, on the board we have a director from the Netherlands, so bringing Toine out each time is certainly possible now the pandemic is over and it’s great to see him out here again.And so we started on May 2 with an SA networking event hosted by Piper Alderman in Adelaide, one of our partners, and it was just really good to get all our participants in South Australia – or whoever could attend – together. And we had a presenter talk from the Minister for Primary Industries and Regions, the Honourable Clare Scriven, and it was great to get the minister over again.And that particular event, we outlined the impacts that we have delivered over the first five years and the impacts that we’re predicted to deliver over that time. And quite a few people were blown away by some of the numbers. So if you don’t mind, I’ll just read through some of those numbers, we’ve put them on a postcard that can be circulated and it will actually go out in our next newsletter as well. But just in summary, we’re at our halfway point in terms of Fight Food Waste Limited, given we had initial ten years of funding and we’re coming up to the end of our fifth year. And these are just some of the headline impact figures that we’re looking at the moment.So, given all the projects we’ve commissioned over the first five years, we’re looking at a potential impact of 15 million tonnes of food waste reduced throughout Australia over the life of the CRC. And the impact of those projects generating $2.7 billion in industry profitability, our commitment was $2 billion, so we’re looking at exceeding that. If all goes well with all of our projects. 0.3 million tonnes of additional food rescued. We’ve got 31 Australian food pact signatories. We’ve created 36 new food or upcycled foods or ingredients so far in our different projects, reducing 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Just in the 2021 / 22 financial year, the Australian Food Pact signatories donated 27,000 tonnes of food, just the signatories alone, which again is an amazing figure. 14,000 people trained so far, 8 sector action plans we’ve published over 220 scientific reports and papers in our first five years and over 800 media articles so far and counting. We’ve got 23 postgraduate students enrolled and the projects that we’ve commissioned should lead to the creation of over 3000 circular economy jobs.I’m really happy with that list of impacts from our first five years, but certainly we’re not resting on our laurels and the purpose of coming together in early May was to work on our next five year strategic plan and that will go beyond the existing CRC, which currently finishes in 2028, and Stop Food Waste Australia, where the funding currently finishes in 2024. And we’re really starting at the endpoint on how do we have food waste by 2030? And we’re working back from there. And so it’s around an all-encompassing strategy to achieve that target that the Australian Government has committed to and the best way of getting there.We’ll outline that new strategy at the 2024 AGM which is on November 24 in Sydney, and a bit of a shout out to our Brisbane and Queensland colleagues. We will be doing a networking event up there on June 19. If you haven’t received an invitation, please let us know, or if you’re going to be in Brisbane on that night, let us know. We’d love for you to attend. And again, we’ll provide this update like we did in South Australia, and we’ll also look to organise other networking events in Victoria later this year. And then, of course, we’ll have our annual conference at the end of the year at KPMG on November 23 and 24 and we’ll provide the update and the outline of the new five-year strategic plan then.Andrew: Wow. Some pretty impressive numbers there, Steve. It sounds like you guys have been smashing it out of the park, but you’ve got a very ambitious target as well to halve total food waste by 2030. Are you feeling optimistic about meeting that target?Steve: We still got to do a lot more. We’re behind where we should be, I think it’s fair to say. So, a couple of years ago, there was a National Food Waste Strategy feasibility study done and that really outlined what it was going to take to half food waste by 2030. And it’s fair to say, and I think we all recognise that we’re behind where we need to be and there needs to be further investment into the whole area of food waste, particularly around reducing household food waste and behaviour change. And that’s something we’re working on at the moment. But, look, I think we have amazing momentum at the moment with the most amazing team that we’ve assembled, an amazing group of partners and participants right across the organisation. We’re expanding quite rapidly as a research organisation. We’ll nearly double in size what we have already and we’ll continue to do that over the coming years. And so I think we’re on a great trajectory, but we’ve still got a lot to do. Even some of those targets I read out before, such as the 15 million tonnes, well, our original commitment was 30 million tonnes and to really halve food waste we need to go and double that. Again, it’s more about 60 million tonnes over the next ten years to achieve that target of having food waste. And so, no doubt, the next five year strategic plan will be absolutely central to those efforts.Andrew: When can we expect to see the strategic plan finalised?Steve: Yeah, it’s a process that will be going on throughout this year. We’ve done a couple of initial consultancies to feed into that and many of our partners would have been approached for surveys or interviews regarding stakeholder feedback over the first few months of this year. We’ve now received all those reports and they’re all presented in May here in Adelaide. And now we’re consolidating that into what is our singular vision and the potential structure of a new organisation. We’re looking at other potential funding sources and so there’s a lot going on in this space. It will be evolving this year. We will look to be presenting it towards the end of this year, as I mentioned at the November conference, but there’s a lot to go on before then.Andrew: We’ll certainly look forward to seeing the outcome of that process.Thanks very much for your time today, Steve.Steve: Excellent. Thanks, Andrew. Nice to see you again.Andrew: You too.And thank you to our subscribers for joining us for today’s update. I should mention if you have any questions for Steve or the team at the Fight Food Waste CRC, please feel free to drop us a line. You can email us at and we’ll pass on your message to the team and hopefully Steve or one of the program leaders can talk about the issues that are most of interest to you.Well, that’s it for today. Until next time, keep up the fight!