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  • Writer's pictureKevin May

Kiwis say YES to eliminating food waste! - Francesca Goodman-Smith, Ep. 17

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

How supermarkets in New Zealand are leading the fight against food waste with creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

Episode 17 Summary

When your goal is to send zero food to landfills by 2025, you have to get very creative with your research and solutions. That is exactly what Francesca Goodman-Smith has done in her role as the Waste Minimisation Manager at Foodstuffs, New Zealand's biggest grocery distributor with the largest group of supermarkets. We will learn what is being done throughout New Zealand with unused food to bring it to its highest value and back into the food supply chain.


At the age of 26, Francesca Goodman-Smith carved a pathway as one of New Zealand’s leaders in food waste minimisation. She has revamped and implemented an award-winning waste minimisation programme in 130 Foodstuffs stores.

At the University of Otago Francesca focused her studies on food access and waste, volunteering at food rescue organisation KiwiHarvest. She developed and facilitated workshops to support whānau to cook healthy kai and for businesses and students to minimise food waste.

Francesca tutored the University’s pioneering food waste course. She was awarded a Master of Science with Distinction for her research into food waste in supermarkets, which acts as baseline data for the sector.

Since joining Foodstuffs, Francesca has jumped into sector leadership roles – as Committee Co-Chair for the Upcycled Food Association, as a NZ Food Waste Champion and as the University of Otago’s Industry Representative on Food Waste Innovation. She regularly publishes and presents research, recently receiving third prize at the International Solid Waste Association Young Professionals Conference.


Notable Quotes

"We found that only about 23% of all of supermarket-level food waste actually went to the landfill and supermarkets were doing a really good job of diverting that food waste to better higher value uses."

"At Foodstuffs, we have a target to send zero food waste to landfill by 2025, and we're tracking and measuring against that to make sure that we are achieving it."

"When I started at Foodstuffs, about 5 million meals per year were being donated through our food rescue program. Now we're up around 9 million meals per year that have been donated to the community."
"We're very fortunate here in New Zealand, we are a large food producing nation and we are able to be pretty self-sufficient with our food supply and the messaging that continuously went out during COVID was “Do Not Panic” We have enough food to go around."
"Everybody knows that food waste is a problem and that we have the power to do something about it. So I think it's one of those unique spaces where competition really isn't a thing, it's actually about growing the sector, growing the knowledge base, and growing the opportunities for everybody to drive forward this huge opportunity to reduce food waste and make our world a better place to live in."

About our Guest

Francesca Goodman-Smith is the Waste Minimisation Manager at Foodstuffs NZ, New Zealand’s largest grocery retail business. Francesca works across the sector as the Industry Representative for the University of Otago’s Food Waste Research Theme, and is the co-chair for the Upcycled Food Standards Committee. Francesca’s MSc research, undertaken at the University of Otago, quantified retail food waste in New Zealand.

Learn more about Foodstuffs NZ

Connect with Francesca on LinkedIn

Contact Francesca at


Mentioned in the Episode

Here are links to articles that feature Francesca/Foodstuffs, we invite you to read them.


Special thanks to our Sponsors and Production Team:


Upcycled Food Association -

Produced by Hi-Fly'n Productions

Executive Producer | Host: Kevin May

Associate Producer: Amy Gilbert

Creative Development: Sue Marshall

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