SecondBite (Austrailia)

Using Surplus Food as an Opportunity to Reduce Hunger and Waste

CommunityFoodservicePublic Health
Policy ChangeProgramming
Food PricesFood Safety

At a Glance

  • SecondBite was created in 2005 by Ian and Simone Carson as an initiative to end hunger and reduce food waste in their community and throughout Australia.
  • This case study shows how the hard work and determination of just two individuals can lead to a decrease in hunger and food waste and an indirect increase in food security for thousands of people by saving nutritious food from entering the landfill, and instead, entering the homes of many people who need it.
  • Lessons Learnt: surplus food from a variety of networks, such as grocery stores, can be used to reduce the prevalence of food insecurity and hunger, while also benefiting the environment through a reduction in food waste.


SecondBite was established in 2005 in hopes to make a difference in the hunger and food waste that is evolving in Australia. Ian and Simone gathered a group of friends and began to visit local markets in Melbourne and collect surplus food to donate and drop off at a local charities that have a food program established. This group continued to grow with increasing volunteers and staff, and luckily for the founders, created a national partnership with Coles in 2011, which helped the organization scale rapidly. Due to this partnership, the organization was able to scale across Australia to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth and eventually create more partnerships with organizations in Tasmania and NT.

What They Do

SecondBite works with many supermarkets and other organizations that create opportunity to offer a free-of-charge supply of nutritious, surplus food to local charities and non-profits. They distribute this food to over 1,000 communities across Australia, and are able to do a “direct deliver” in areas that are most efficient in doing so. With the help of over 600 volunteers and 75 staff members, SecondBite has successfully rescued and delivered an equivalent of 100 million meals. Through the help of the community and partnerships, this organization was able to grow on a national scale and is making a direct impact on hunger within Australia due to the increase in availability of nutritious foods. Not only will this make a great change for the reduction of food waste across a network of suppliers, it will also have a major impact on the environment due to the decrease of wastage in the landfill. In addition, the organization was able to create a “Community Connect” model that allows supermarkets and charities to directly connect with one another, allowing for a more personable, sustainable and efficient system in food delivery and access. Although there is no one solution to end hunger, food security or waste, SecondBite believes it is a step in the right direction in making an impact in Australia and, eventually, the rest of the world.

Food for Thought
Are there current food initiatives within your community that benefit from surplus nutritious food and networks?
What impact can donating surplus food have on the environment? Society?
How can Dietitians-Nutritionists support the development of these organizations and further add to their goals?

Contact Information
Phone: 1800 263 283
Address: 93 Northern road, Heidelber West, VIC 3081
Facebook: @SecondBiteAus
Instagram: @secondbiteorg
Twitter: @SecondBite_org
LinkedIn: @SecondBite