Food Wastage and Its Impact on Your Finances

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Food wastage is a major issue affecting both the environment and personal finances. Households in Malaysia are the top contributors, responsible for 44.5% of food waste, surpassing commercial and industrial sectors.

Food wastage is a significant global issue with profound environmental and financial implications. Surprisingly, the primary contributors to food wastage are not just large corporations but also households. Understanding the financial impact of food wastage on personal finances can motivate more mindful consumption and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

Who Wastes Food the Most

Contrary to popular belief, households are the leading contributors to food wastage in Malaysia, responsible for 44.5% of the total waste. The commercial and industrial sectors follow closely behind at 31.4%.

How Much Money Do People Waste on Food

The financial impact of food wastage varies among households. On average, a Malaysian household spent around RM900 a month on food in 2016, with approximately RM220 worth wasted monthly. This translates to about RM2,650 annually. These small, unnoticed losses can add up significantly over time, depleting funds that could be used for other essential expenses or savings.

Money Down the Drain

Wasting food equates to throwing away money. Each instance of rotting produce, unfinished restaurant meals, or expired pantry items represents a direct financial loss. These incremental losses accumulate, resulting in a substantial impact on one's budget.

The Bigger Picture

Beyond personal finances, food wastage has broader implications. The resources required to grow, harvest, process, distribute, store, and prepare food involve significant costs. These processes consume water, electricity, and other resources, contributing to environmental degradation when wasted food ends up in landfills, releasing methane and exacerbating climate change. Reducing food wastage not only saves money but also helps mitigate environmental impacts.

How to Reduce Food Wastage

Grocery Shopping Habits

  • Create a Shopping List: Plan your grocery shopping to avoid impulse purchases and buy only what you need.
  • Buy Perishables as Needed: Purchase perishable items in quantities that can be consumed before they spoil.

Expiration Dates

  • Understand Expiration Labels: Differentiate between "sell by," "use by," and "best by" dates to avoid discarding edible food prematurely.

Leftovers and Meal Planning

  • Plan Meals Efficiently: Prepare meals in reasonable quantities and have a plan for leftover food.
  • Embrace Portion Control: Cook and serve appropriate portions to minimize waste.

Proper Storage

  • Invest in Quality Storage: Use proper containers and storage techniques to extend the freshness of food.
  • Separate Storage: Store fruits and vegetables separately at suitable temperatures to prolong their shelf life.
  • Use Freezers: Utilize freezers for foods that last longer when frozen.


Food wastage is a costly problem with significant environmental and financial repercussions. By adopting mindful grocery shopping habits, understanding expiration dates, practicing portion control, and utilizing proper storage techniques, households can significantly reduce food wastage. These steps not only save money but also contribute to a healthier planet. Every Ringgit saved from reducing food waste is a Ringgit that can be put to better use, enhancing financial well-being and environmental stewardship.

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