OzHarvest successfully feeds ten thousand people using surplus at United Nations Think.Eat.Save events to fight food waste

Posted by on July 28, 2015

Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest fed more than ten thousand people across Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle and Perth yesterday at Think.Eat.Save events held simultaneously across the country, a collaboration with the United Nations to tackle the issues of food loss and waste, food security and sustainable food systems.

Taking place at Martin Place in Sydney, St Stephen’s Cathederal in Brisbane, Federation Square in Melbourne, The University of Adelaide, Garema Place in Canberra, The 4217 in the Gold Coast, Forrest Place in Perth, Hunter St Mall in Newcastle, as well as Sapphire Coast and Port Macquarie, the events were a collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the UN’s Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction (SAVE FOOD).

Some of the nation’s top chefs including Neil Perry, Matt Moran, Peter Gilmore, Guillaume Brahimi, Somer Sivrioglu, Giovanni Pilu, Maeve O’Meara and Hamish Ingham, internationally acclaimed chef Diego Muñoz, as well as mayors, senators, MPs and celebrities united at the events to take a stance against food waste by serving members of the public a free, delicious and hearty hot meal made from surplus produce that would have otherwise ended up as landfill.

Food waste is currently costing Australians up to $10 billion each year, while two million people still rely on food relief.

Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn said the aim of Think.Eat.Save 2015 was to bring attention to the disturbing amount of food wasted in Australia and around the world, where roughly one third of food produced for human consumption (approx. 1.3 billion tonnes) gets wasted and lost[1] along the way.

“Our modern day challenge is to create a sustainable food culture that can be shared and accessed by all and where less is wasted at all levels of food production, distribution and consumption,” Kahn said.

“The amount of support that we saw at Think.Eat.Save events across 10 locations around Australia yesterday proves that food waste and food security are issues that Australians care about. Beyond the event, each and every one of us should continue to consciously reduce food waste, both at home, at work or in our businesses and strive to affect change and positively impact our planet.”

Diego Muñoz, Head Chef of Astrid y Gastón, Lima Peru – recently voted #14 Best Restaurant in the World, who is in Australia exclusively for OzHarvest fundraising events until August 3, also participated in a panel discussion around food waste and food sustainability.

“What I found surprising when I went out on the van with OzHarvest to collect and deliver food, was the high quality of the produce that was going to be wasted. Instead OzHarvest was rescuing this food and providing it to people who need it, essentially giving this food another life and making people happy at the same time. It really touched me. Ronni Kahn and her team have created something brilliant, it just makes sense and it’s why I truly support the vision and this cause.”

For more information on OzHarvest or upcoming events featuring Diego Muñoz, please visit

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter @OzHarvest or Facebook or call 1800 108 006

Social media tags: #ozharvest #thinkeatsave @UNEP #SaveFood #UNFAO #FoodWaste @FAOKnowledge @FAOnews @save_food_news @NSW_EPA #LFHW

Thanks to Sydney Event Partners: NSW EPA, Virgin Mobile, Wild Foodies, Sydney Markets, ERM

See our full list of National Supporters here

View our Photo Collection from the events here

For more media information, images or interviews with Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO of OzHarvest or Diego Muñoz, please contact:


Louise Tran at OzHarvest on [email protected] | +61 2 9516 3877 | +61 466 620 744

Meaghan Kemeny at Liquid Ideas on [email protected] | +61 2 9667 4211 | +61 413 858 818

[1] FAO, 2011, Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention, Rome. Food loss (FL): The decrease in quantity or quality of food. FL is mainly caused by the functioning of the food production and supply system or its institutional and legal framework. An important part of food loss is called food waste (FW) which refers to the removal from the supply chain of food which is fit for consumption by choice or has been left to spoil or expire as a result of negligence – predominantly but not exclusively the final consumer at household level. Source: FAO 2014


Australia, should we be insta-shamed of ourselves?

Posted by on July 15, 2015

Virgin Mobile challenges Aussies to lose the filters and share what they’re really eating to help those in need.

 Sharing photos of perfectly styled, overly filtered meals on social media is something Australians love to do, and new research from Virgin Mobile has shown just how far we’ll go to get that perfect shot for Instagram. But today, Virgin Mobile is challenging Australians to get real and start posting everything they’re eating – the good, the bad and the downright un-filtered – because every food photo could mean a real meal for someone in need.

According to research for Virgin Mobile almost half (49 per cent) of Australians regularly post food pictures on social media and as a nation we are posting a whopping 71 million food photos per year[1]. Our newsfeeds are overflowing with pictures of food. However, two million Australians are reliant on food relief every year[2] and 90 per cent of Australian food relief agencies are not able to meet demand[3]. It would seem that while we’re sharing meals on Instagram, we’re not sharing them where they are really needed.

To tackle this imbalance, last year Virgin Mobile launched #mealforameal. Every time someone takes a photo of a meal and shares it on social media with the hashtag #mealforameal, Virgin Mobile will donate to OzHarvest so they may deliver a real meal to a person in need. So far, over 260,000 food pics have been turned into real meals but Virgin Mobile want to go even bigger.

This year Virgin Mobile want all food pictures – they want the 3am kebabs, the pre-payday lunch of instant noodles and Tuesday night’s spaghetti on toast, just as much as the 8-course degustation in the hottest new restaurant. Why? Because every meal counts for a good cause.

However, it may be difficult to convince some to lose the filters. Virgin Mobile’s research revealed three in four (74 per cent) of Aussie social media users that post photos wouldn’t post a food photo if it didn’t look good enough to share.

Our Insta-shame doesn’t stop there. 63 per cent Aussie food posters admit they would never post a picture of their guilty food pleasure such as last night’s leftovers, a fatty takeaway or their secret stash of chocolate!

It would seem we are literally throwing away the chance to turn even more food pictures into meals for people in need just because they don’t look the part.

It’s not all bad though. The research revealed three in four Aussie social media users (74 per cent) would be happy to be more truthful with their posts if it was a good cause.

This year Virgin Mobile has partnered with celebrated French chef of Guillaume and Bistro Guillaume fame, Guillaume Brahimi, to help Aussies get behind the cause and loosen up their styling and filtering. He says:

“I’m always on my mobile taking pictures of food. I love that social media has allowed us to celebrate and be inspired by food. But I’ll admit, I can spend a bit too long getting the perfect shot! I strive for perfection in everything I do – the best ingredients, technique, presentation. To be a good chef you have to! But when you consider that Virgin Mobile is turning every food picture – good and bad – into a real meal for someone less fortunate, why wouldn’t you start posting everything you’re eating? Come on Australia, every meal counts.”

More confessions of Australian Insta-food snobs

The research revealed the lengths Aussie social media users who post photos go to share the perfect picture on social media;

  • 41 per cent would happily stand on a chair to get the perfect food shot.
  • 30 per cent exaggerate about how good a meal is when they post it to social media.
  • 57 per cent post food pictures just to get a reaction from friends and family.

The research also revealed 61 per cent of Aussie social media users admit to at least one of the below behaviours before they post their foodie picture on social media:

  • Re-arranging the dish to get the perfect shot;
  • Claiming somebody else’s dish as their own;
  • Requesting their fellow diners wait to eat so they can post the perfect shot; and
  • Cooking a meal specifically to share it on social media.

 Ronni Kahn, founder and CEO of OzHarvest weighs in:

“Last year, the #mealforameal initiative enabled OzHarvest to deliver a quarter of a million more meals to Aussies in need. The initiative was so successful because Virgin Mobile added purpose to an everyday act, giving people the opportunity to turn their mobile phone behaviour into something more meaningful. This year we’re asking people to post every one of their food pics – the good the bad and the ugly – no matter what! The more food pics tagged #mealforameal the more meals we can deliver to those in need.”

David Scribner, head of Virgin Mobile Australia, concludes:

“The phenomenon of snapping and sharing food pics through your mobile is showing no signs of slowing. Our mobiles are a one-stop shop for food photography, allowing people to snap their meals in high quality and immediately share them through social media. The success of #mealforameal is testament to this phenomenon and we’re so proud of how Australia has shown its support so far. We’d encourage more Aussies to get snapping and tagging, whatever they’re eating, because every food pic could mean a meal for someone in need.”



To find out more about the #mealforameal initiative and the incredible work that OzHarvest do, including further ways you can show your support, visit

[1]  The research was conducted among 1,011 Australians aged 18 or older who regularly use social media and post images of food / meals on social media.

[2] DAFF, National Food Plan 2012

[3] End Hunger Report, Foodbank, 2012

Move over #foodporn, there’s a new hashtag in town!

Posted by on July 14, 2014

Virgin Mobile launches #mealforameal, a world-first initiative turning food pics into real meals for those in need.

As part of their commitment to make mobile better, Virgin Mobile Australia are taking some of our silliest mobile phone behaviours and finding ways to make them better. The first initiative will target one of Australia’s most popular mobile behaviours – taking pictures of meals and sharing them via social media – and make it better by turning those pictures into real meals for those in need, together with OzHarvest. It’s called #mealforameal.

Australian chefs Adriano Zumbo, George Calombaris, Andrew Levins, and the team from Gelato Messina have thrown their weight behind the campaign, and will encourage their legions of devoted fans and followers to get behind the hashtag. Here’s why…

Mobile phones have become as ubiquitous in the food world as cutlery. While it was once considered rude to have your phone at the table, now it’s normal to see smartphones taking pride of place amongst the plates or in the hands of diners as they eagerly snap their meals and post them to Instagram. Our newsfeeds are overflowing with pictures of food as we share everything we’re eating with everyone we know.

New Virgin Mobile research has shown that on average, Aussies are accessing social media apps through their smartphones for 14 hours a week! That’s 26 days a year spent posting, tagging, liking, commenting and sharing. The research also showed that food pictures are the second most common type of photo taken by Australians and third most common to be seen on social media news feeds (behind location shots and selfies) with seven in ten Australians admitting they have posted a food picture on their social channels.

With 60 million photos shared on Instagram every day, one can only imagine how many of these are of food, with ninety new photos with the hashtag #foodporn uploaded every minute.

Adriano Zumbo, Virgin Mobile #mealforameal Ambassador and creator of some of Australia’s most Instagrammed desserts, gives his take on how mobile phones have revolutionised the food industry:

“It’s hard to remember a day that one of my creations wasn’t posted to social media. The rise of the smartphone and food photography has gone hand-in-hand. While I definitely think it’s a positive that people are sharing a love of food with their phones, and the exposure for our industry has been incredible, I would also like to see how this phenomenon could have a more positive impact on the world. The mobile phone is such a cool device, why not use it to help those in need?”

Unfortunately, it’s not just our social media channels overflowing with food. According to OzHarvest, a charity that rescues excess food and delivers it to those in need, four million tonnes of food is wasted every year in Australia alone. In fact, we throw away food worth $8 billion annually. Where does it go? Straight to landfill.

Despite all of this food being wasted, two million Australians are reliant on food relief every year, with 90 per cent of Australian food relief agencies not able to meet demand for meals. It would seem that while we’re sharing meals on Instagram, we’re not sharing meals where they are really needed.

Virgin Mobile want to correct this imbalance and are mobilising Australian smartphone users to get behind a new, world-first campaign that takes food pics and turns them into real meals for those in need.

Every time someone takes a photo of a meal and shares it on their social channels with the hashtag #mealforameal, Virgin Mobile will donate to OzHarvest so they can deliver a real meal to someone in need. Virgin Mobile is aiming to deliver 400,000 meals through OzHarvest with its #mealforameal campaign.

Ronni Kahn, founder and CEO of OzHarvest, explains further:

“Every single day, OzHarvest rescues perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it to over 500 charitable organisations around Australia. We are on a mission to eliminate hunger and food waste simultaneously and now you can help us do this simply by remembering one simple hashtag. So, next time you feel the impulse to snap that organic grass fed wagyu burger, tag it #mealforameal so Virgin Mobile can help us turn it into a real meal for someone in need. Then you can tuck in, feeling good in the knowledge someone in need is also getting fed thanks to the power of you and your mobile phone.”

David Scribner, Head of Virgin Mobile Australia, concludes:

“These little pocket miracles we carry around with us every day are so powerful, they have revolutionised the way we communicate and also the way we live. This initiative, part of a wider campaign launched by Virgin Mobile called ‘Making mobile better’, will remind people of just how incredible these devices can be and mobilise Australians to turn their everyday mobile behaviour into a force for good.”

To find out more about the #mealforameal initiative and the incredible work that OzHarvest do, including further ways you can show your support, visit


For further information or to arrange an interview with a Virgin Mobile spokesperson, please contact:

Olivia Loughnan | Virgin Mobile | Phone: 02 8085 1970 | [email protected]

Katie Raleigh | One Green Bean | Phone: 02 8020 1827 | [email protected]

Cleo Posa | One Green Bean | Phone: 02 8020 1826 | [email protected]

Matea Rojas | One Green Bean | Phone: 02 8020 1819 | [email protected]


Notes to editors:

The Virgin Mobile Research Study:

  • Was conducted by Lonergan Research among 1,027 Australians aged 18 or older.
  • The study was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel.
  • For the purposes of this report, ‘Australians’ refers to those who own a smartphone.
  • Fieldwork commenced on 10 June 2014 and was completed on 16 June 2014.
  • After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.



Virgin Mobile Australia: Making Mobile Better

Virgin Mobile launched in Australia 14 years ago, based on Richard Branson’s belief that we could do mobile better.  Better for our customers, and better for our planet.  We’ve been rocking the boat ever since, and we’re not stopping now, because it’s just how we work.  Innovative products and a commitment to great value for money are in our DNA.

For years we’ve believed our customers should be able to call or text their friends and family on our network within Oz for free, and on our Postpaid plans, they can. We also roll over unused calls and text: our customers have paid for it, so we figure they deserve a second shot at using it.

Backing all this is the power of the Optus 3G/4G network (thanks guys!) which just keeps getting stronger, and allows us to focus on what’s most important – our customers.

We’re committed to making the mobile industry better by keeping pressure on the big guys and making mobile better for customers through innovative products, great service and a commitment to great value for money – it’s a fairer and better way to do business.

As part of this new campaign, we’ll also focus on those outside our customer base and make the world a better place through mobile. Over the coming year, we are going to be launching a number of new initiatives that have nothing to do with new plans or products, but everything to do with people and the planet (although the plans and products will be happening too!)

We’re going to be looking at some of the most silly mobile phone behaviours we’re all guilty of and find ways to turn them into good and show the true potential of the mobile phone while we’re at it. To learn more about how Virgin Mobile is making mobile better, and its #mealforameal initiative, visit:


OzHarvest is a charity that rescues good quality excess food that would otherwise be discarded.  OzHarvest then distributes this food to charities supporting the vulnerable in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast & Newcastle. OzHarvest was founded in 2004 and begun with just one van, delivering 4,000 meals in its first month of operation.  OzHarvest now delivers 480,000 meals each month with a fleet of 23 vans! To find out more about OzHarvest and how you can support them (outside the #mealforameal campaign), visit