How to save money and waste less food

Sandy Botterill, Head of Environmental Social Governance at Foodstuffs NZ.
Sandy Botterill, Head of Environmental Social Governance at Foodstuffs NZ. Photo credit: PAK'nSAVE

As we head back to work and school, we're eager to start the year off right and set up good habits like spending less, and being more sustainable.

PAK'nSAVE is helping make life easier for Kiwis with the Savey Meal-bot, an online recipe generator that creates recipes out of ingredients people already have at home, to save money and reduce food waste.

Every year, New Zealand households throw away hundreds of dollars worth of food, particularly over the busy summer holiday period. According to a 2023 Rabobank and KiwiHarvest survey conducted by Kantar, New Zealanders throw out an average of over $1500 of food waste per household every year. The food isn't necessarily off, it's often just forgotten about at the back of the fridge or pantry.

PAK'nSAVE is encouraging Kiwis to shop their fridge or pantry first and use the Savey Meal-bot to generate recipes from the food they already have at home.  

Sandy Botterill, Head of Environmental Social Governance at Foodstuffs, walks the talk when it comes to sustainability, and is a big advocate of the Savey Meal-bot.

"PAK'nSAVE and Foodstuffs are committed to reducing food waste and saving customers money, and we're always on the look-out for innovative ways we can help our customers,” says Botterill.

"Fifteen hundred dollars' worth of food is a lot of money to send to landfill, throw down the gurgler or even give to your worms. We want to help people use up the food they already have at home so that nothing goes to waste.

"The Savey Meal-bot is a great tool to have in your back pocket if you want to be more mindful of your household food waste and spend."

Household food waste can increase over the summer holiday period, when there are a lot of social gatherings, and the Savey Meal-bot is a useful webtool for generating recipes that use up all those leftovers for your kids' lunchbox, a back to work lunch, or dinner, Botterill says.

"It's a great little tool for some back to school and work lunch inspiration. I literally use the Savey Meal-bot three or four times a week.

"When I've got a few items that are sitting in my fridge and I don't want them to go off, I just pop them into the Meal-bot with a few other items that I've got in my fridge or pantry and, just like that, it generates a delicious meal for lunch or dinner that I wouldn't have thought of."

Rather than race to the supermarket to do a top-up shop on those days you get home late, the Savey Meal-bot can provide a quick, easy dinner solution - and help push out your grocery shop another day or two.

"The other day I got home late after being in Raglan for the weekend and instead of getting takeaways, I had a look around at what I already had at home and found an avocado, some sausages I had in the freezer, and half a pottle of tomato paste, plus some tomatoes and a cucumber. Then I put all the ingredients into the Meal-bot and it came up with an incredible sausage goulash recipe that I made. It was delicious."

PAK’nSAVE Thames team members Charian, left, and Nerissa provide a demo on how to use the Savey Meal-bot.
PAK’nSAVE Thames team members Charian, left, and Nerissa provide a demo on how to use the Savey Meal-bot. Photo credit: PAKnSAVE

The Meal-bot is already proving to be a popular meal planning tool. Since its launch in June 2023, the PAK'nSAVE Savey Meal-bot has generated 96,803 recipes. The bot currently has 86,121 active users and has recorded 113,158 sessions.

The Savey Meal-bot is a webtool, so there's no need to download an app - just head to

Check out a few of our Savey Meal-bot lunch ideas for some inspiration:

You can download and share all Savey Meal-bot recipes. Keep your favourites to add to your regular meal plan or share them with family and friends. If you don't like the recipe, just hit refresh or start again with new ingredients and the Savey Meal-bot will have another go.

This article is created for PAK’nSAVE