Food rescue organisations in Aotearoa captured over 11,500 tonnes of food at risk of going to waste last year, distributing it to people in the community, including those experiencing food insecurity. Our second food waste report, which we are releasing today, explores the food rescue sector’s role as part of the solution to food waste.
When food is wasted, resources are expended and greenhouse gas emissions occur throughout the food supply chain for no gain, and food in landfills produces methane as it breaks down. Food waste also represents a missed opportunity to nourish people in a country where 13.4% of children live in households experiencing moderate-to-severe food insecurity. It’s at the interface of these two lenses on food waste – the environmental and the social – that food rescue sits.

Food rescue in 2022: Where to from here? 

The report highlights what we know about the volume of food rescued, the social and environmental impacts of food rescue, and evidence-based opportunities to support food rescue organisations as they work to save good food for people. We explore food safety and nutrition as important factors in the rescue sector’s work, and we draw on international insights throughout. The report includes recommendations under a set of five themes which will span our food waste series.

Recommendations from Food rescue in 2022: Where to from here? 

In the report, food rescue is placed in the wider context of solutions for food waste and food insecurity. Food rescue is an important complement to, but not a substitute for, interventions to prevent the generation of surplus food at source and alleviate poverty. The food rescue sector does important work, and the efforts of the 4,000+ volunteers who engage in food rescue contribute to substantial environmental and social good, building community and raising awareness about food waste.

This report was produced with support from many stakeholders and experts. We have benefitted hugely from the insights and knowledge of our burgeoning reference group and have valued opportunities to see the rescue sector’s work in action. Thanks for inviting us into your world and helping us to keep the realities of the food rescue operating environment in mind as we drafted the report and recommendations. Keep up the great mahi!


Emily and Deborah at Fair Food. Photo credit: Fair Food

Kai unloaded from a KiwiHarvest truck for a recipient organisation

Juliet helping to load the Waiheke Resources Trust van

This report follows on from the first report in the series, which set the scene by detailing the current state of food waste in Aotearoa and outlining frameworks for solutions. Subsequent reports in the series will focus on further solutions to combat food waste in Aotearoa across the food system. The next piece of the puzzle we are tackling will focus on processing options for mixed food waste, as the government considers requiring a nationwide rollout of kerbside food scraps collections and business food waste separation. Later in our work programme, we will be exploring upcycling to new food products, using food waste as animal feed, and material recycling, before turning to the important topic of preventing food waste at source. If you’d like to contribute to subsequent reports in 2022/23 and we aren’t already in touch, please contact

As ever, a final thanks to the OPMCSA team for their efforts to get this report out of the door, in particular to Emily McCarthy, Colson Verdonk, Susie Meade, and George Slim.

Ngā manaakitanga,

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