Providers buy 83.5% of fresh food in its total food shop for residents in aged care

The Department of Health and Aged Care’s latest Quarterly Financial Snapshot shows that most food given to aged care residents is fresh.

The latest snapshot states residential aged care providers spent an average of 83.5% of the total food and ingredients costs on fresh food and ingredients, which is a 3.5% increase on the October to December quarter (80 per cent).

Fresh food and ingredients are defined by the GST classification found on itemised purchase receipts. All foods that are GST-free are classified as “fresh”, whereas “other” foods have GST applied.

The latest Quarterly Financial Snapshot showed all providers increased spending on food and ingredients. The third quarter median total cost of food and ingredients was $13.41 per resident per day, an increase of $0.24 on the previous three months.

The Department of Health and Aged Care’s Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) has set up a new Food, Nutrition and Dining Advisory Support Unit and hotline to help providers improve the delivery of higher quality and more nutritious meals to people in aged care.

The Food, Nutrition and Dining Hotline – 1800 844 044 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – is for people receiving aged care, their representatives, approved providers, aged care staff, advocacy services,  and other health and medical professionals.

In addition, the Department is spending $5 million over three years on the Maggie Beer Foundation to try and improve in food in residential aged care.


All aged care providers are invited to take part in online learning modules, a food satisfaction questionnaire, State and Territory training hubs, a trainer mentor program, and professional community.

Participation in the three-year program will also help residential aged care homes meet the draft dedicated food and nutrition Aged Care Quality Standard currently being piloted.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.