CQUni heads to the frontline in the war on food waste

Published:13 April 2018

TOP: Associate Professor David Pearson (right) with other participants in the CRC announcement. MID: Touring a food bank. BELOW: Officials at the CRC announcement.

CQUniversity is joining the fight against billions of dollars of food waste through a core role in a new $133 million multi-university Co-operative Research Centre.

Over the next 10 years, CQUni academics and research students will have opportunities to engage with industry and consumers to deliver behavioural change.

They will also help to transform unavoidable waste into innovative high-value products.

Announced on 12 April, the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre aims to boost the sustainability and profitability of the Australian food industry.

The CRC involves 57 participants from around Australia and overseas who collectively raised $103 million that will be matched with $30 million from the Federal Government CRC Program.

“This is a unique and rare opportunity to engage with industry stakeholders to contribute to the United Nations’ food waste reduction sustainable development goals,” says CQUni School of Business and Law Associate Professor David Pearson, who is leading the CRC’s Education, Training and Behavioural Change program.

“Known as ‘Engage’, this program will educate future industry professionals, disseminate industry and skills training, and develop household and business behaviour change instruments.

“Other CQUni colleagues will have opportunities to work on the waste transformation program,” said Associate Professor Pearson, who is based at CQUni Sydney.

CQUni Melbourne academic Professor Julian Teicher says the new CRC starts operations on 1 July and teams will be assembled from across the University to work on various projects.

“Our focus will be on education, training and behaviour change drawing on our strengths in social marketing in much the same way as we have addressed public health issues such as reducing smoking and encouraging exercise,” he says.

“This is part of a larger program to reduce waste in the food supply chain, provide food to those in need, and create innovations in food production that reduce waste.

“For example, innovative packaging can protect food products in transit but there’s also opportunity to create new food products with longer shelf life without preservatives. New products could also include converting food waste into food for livestock on farms.”

Fight Food Waste CRC Interim CEO Dr Steven Lapidge says industry, government and research bodies have been brought together to tackle the growing international problem of food waste, which is at the heart of future industry sustainability.

The new CRC will be headquartered at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.