Supply chain impacts food relief charity

Maeve BannisterAAP
Ronni Kahn says OzHarvest has had to purchase food rather than being able to rely on donations.
Camera IconRonni Kahn says OzHarvest has had to purchase food rather than being able to rely on donations. Credit: AAP

Charities are feeling the impact of supply chain issues and the rising cost of living from COVID, natural disasters and overseas conflict.

Ronni Kahn - founder and CEO of OzHarvest, a service which rescues surplus food and delivers it to people in need - says since COVID hit, the organisation has had to purchase food for the first time rather than being able to rely on donations.

This was because of a lack of extra food on supermarket shelves due to supply chain problems and an additional million people experiencing food insecurity, she says.

"We're already feeling the impact between the cost of living, COVID and now another natural disaster means there will be more and more people needing food," she told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

"There is absolutely a place for a (government) food security committee so that during disasters like this, we can get food out ... there is room for better preparation on every level."

But Australian households are also wasting up to $3000 every year on food that is not eaten and the cost to the planet is far higher, Ms Kahn says.

"Six million people in this country today - in this abundant, joyous, extraordinary country - need food relief at some point in the year," she said.

"If we are fighting to stop waste on the one hand, we need to elevate and educate and minimise the number of people that need food too."

She says Australian households have a role to play in not wasting food by only buying what they need and not impulse buying.

"We've stopped valuing food, we're a convenience society, we want quick food and we have stopped really understanding where food comes from," she said.

"If we use (the food we buy) up, number one it will cost us less and number two, we will save an enormous amount of food from going to waste."

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