After a successful one-year trial, Qantas has signed up as an ongoing OzHarvest donor, providing unwanted food that would otherwise end up in landfill through its Food ResQ program.
Over the past 12 months, the airline has sent 35 tonnes of food to Australia’s leading food rescue organisation to be redistributed to people in need.
A team of Qantas and “Food ResQ” volunteers at Qantas catering centres in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, has developed a process to collect a variety of untouched food items from domestic flights, which is then picked up by OzHarvest vans and delivered to a range of charitable organisations.
As Qantas caters for every passenger on-board, but not everyone chooses to eat when they fly, this food is now collected as part of the Qantas Food ResQ program.
Rescued food from domestic flights includes unopened food items and fruits – such as apples, bananas, muesli bars, breakfast cereal, baked goods and water cups. This program currently excludes Qantas international flights, as customs and quarantine regulations currently prevent collection of food.
Alison Webster, Executive Manager Qantas Freight and Qantas Catering Group said the program has been a huge success to date with tonnes of food distributed to underprivileged school children, drought-affected families, refuge centres, youth centres and many more community causes.
“Every kilogram of food that can be rescued from a Qantas flight saves perfectly edible food from ending up in landfill which not only protects the environment but helps make a positive difference to the lives of those less fortunate,” she said.
Founder and CEO of OzHarvest Ronni Kahn is constantly looking for innovative ways to tackle food waste in Australia and says the surplus items saved from the Qantas domestic food boxes make a real difference to those in need.
“This type of collaboration shows a major commitment towards the national target of reducing food waste in Australia by 50 per cent by 2025,” he said.
Qantas is the first of all food donors to establish a dedicated OzHarvest volunteer program, enabling OzHarvest volunteers to undertake their work on site. Data and analytics captured from the Food ResQ program, has already led to greater business efficiency and cost savings within Qantas Catering.