Decreasing meals waste and saving Canadians cash

Decreasing meals waste and saving Canadians cash

Folks throughout Canada are struggling to afford groceries, but 2.3 million tonnes of edible meals are apparently being wasted yearly.

The Nationwide Zero Waste Council, a company targeted on sustainable waste practices, says 63 per cent of meals Canadians threw out to this point this yr might have been eaten. Wasteful meals practices additionally value Canadians greater than $20 billion yearly, in line with the council.

At a time when meals is dearer than ever as a consequence of inflation, some organizations are attempting to deal with this downside by serving to corporations which have surplus meals scale back waste whereas serving to shoppers lower your expenses on the similar time.

Right here’s a have a look at how that is being achieved.


Too Good To Go, a world group that launched throughout Canada in 2021, acts as a liaison between shoppers and companies.

Nation supervisor Sam Kashani says the corporate has an app that connects folks with native eating places, motels and shops.

“There are such a lot of companies throughout the nation which have surplus meals and will not have an avenue to both have the meals land at a donation facility via the logistics, or the sum is so little that, in the end, it simply does not make sense to drive a truck there and choose it up,” he advised

When a shopper opens the app, they’re greeted by a map exhibiting a wide range of companies of their space with “shock luggage.”

These are packages the companies put collectively of surplus stock. Quite a lot of meals, relying on the enterprise, is inside. Kashani says all shock luggage are bought for one-third of the valued value.

“You get a group of surplus meals at an incredible low cost, and for that motive, the enterprise wins, as a result of they get their meals collected and make some incremental income as a substitute of throwing it out,” Kashani mentioned. “The patron wins as a result of they get completely wholesome, scrumptious meals at a fraction of the price they usually would have paid for it.”



Shira McDermott, co-founder of a Vancouver flour mill and bakery known as Flourist, says Too Good To Go has been an attraction for brand spanking new prospects.

“It is a good means for folks to find our merchandise and get some offers,” she mentioned to

Flourist will package deal up additional baked items in its shock luggage. McDermott says the retail worth of the products is round $23 (the client pays about $7) and they are often shared by a household of 4.

“It is often a collection of cookies, pastries and perhaps some bread,” she mentioned. “It’s a extremely good alternative to strive day-old baking.”

Second Harvest is Canada’s largest meals rescue group and works with corporations and logistics operators to carry surplus meals to Canadians.

“We do third-party logistics throughout the entire nation,” Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest, advised “However on high of that, we have a look at what systemic challenges even enable this to occur within the first place. Why do now we have a lot meals loss and waste? And the way a lot do now we have?”

Second Harvest began in 1985 with two Toronto girls who wished to make a distinction of their neighborhood. About seven years in the past, the corporate began investing in analysis whereas increasing throughout Canada and specializing in decreasing greenhouse fuel emissions.

The purpose is easy: carry meals that might in any other case go to waste to communities and organizations that may use it.

Meals banks are staples on the subject of accessing meals, however Nikkel says there’s a complete different community of organizations hidden from the general public’s view that may additionally profit from reclaimed meals.

These are the organizations Second Harvest focuses on.

“There are 61,000 locations which are offering meals to folks and nonprofits throughout the nation,” she mentioned, including that these are along with the community of 4,500 meals banks. “They’re small, grassroots or midsize, however they’re simply neglected.”

Nikkel explains these organizations embrace senior centres, shelters, leisure amenities, college diet applications and spiritual establishments.

“Their core focus is not meals, however meals is what brings folks collectively. You’ll appeal to extra folks as a result of there’s meals, (so) get them the wholesome meals,” she mentioned.


Via organizations like Second Harvest and Too Good To Go, much less meals is being wasted. However there’s some meals that can’t be given to people – assume squished produce, stale bread and corn husks.

That’s the place corporations resembling Loop are available.

“Loop exists as a 3rd get together to ensure meals goes someplace good,” Jaime White, Loop’s director of latest tasks, advised

White works with corporations like Second Harvest to proceed the reclaimed meals cycle. If an organization has surplus merchandise, Second Harvest will take edible meals and convey it to charities. Loop will take any leftover meals and discover farms to take it.

The corporate started when a small group of farmers from Dawson Creek, B.C., wished to supply low-priced meals for livestock and scale back environmental impacts. They requested an area grocery retailer if the corporate would donate its leftover merchandise that weren’t promoting.

White says the shop couldn’t due to the “legal responsibility” points it might face if one thing went improper. That’s when Loop got here to fruition, addressing what the native retailer wanted and what the farmers wished.


Decreasing meals waste and saving Canadians cashWilbur, Larry and Nancy are the three pigs benefiting from the majority of the pumpkins, and the benefits are nothing to snort at. (Carla Shynkaruk/CTV Saskatoon)

Wilbur, Larry and Nancy are the three pigs benefiting from the majority of the pumpkins, and the benefits are nothing to snort at. (Carla Shynkaruk/CTV Saskatoon)

Loop has since grown throughout the nation and is partnering companies with farms to get rid of meals waste.

White says the corporate’s prices are cheaper than rubbish pick-up and its companies enable much less meals to be wasted. It acts as a center group, directing the place meals ought to go and educating farmers on what they will feed animals.

White believes meals ought to feed folks first and animals second, and says he is seen the influence Loop can have when coping with people’ leftovers.

“You’ve by no means seen a happier pig than a pig in pumpkin pie,” White mentioned. “Every thing has a house on the farm someplace.”


The quantity of waste produced day by day by Canadians is staggering, with principally greens and fruits being thrown away. Meals waste is any byproduct of an edible supply – for instance, banana peels, rotten or mouldy meals and off baked items. The Nationwide Zero Waste Council estimates every day Canadians throw away equal to 130,000 heads of lettuce, 2.6 million potatoes, 650,000 loaves of bread and 1 million cups of milk.

In keeping with PROOF, a College of Toronto report on meals insecurity in Canada carried out in 2021, 15.9 per cent of households throughout the nation skilled some degree of meals insecurity in some unspecified time in the future within the earlier 12 months.


“This excessive price of family meals insecurity has continued via the previous three years, with little change from 2019 to 2021,” the report reads. “Regardless of the systematic monitoring of meals insecurity since 2005, this downside has not gotten any higher.”

In response to pandemic provide chain disruptions and the growing quantity of individuals going hungry, the Canadian Authorities launched the Surplus Meals Rescue Program. It gave $50 million in one-time funding to a number of reclaim meals organizations like Second Harvest, which acquired $11 million from the initiative. Nikkel says this system was impactful, aiding producers, communities and environmental initiatives.

“At present there aren’t any plans to proceed the Surplus Meals Rescue Program,” a spokesperson from Agriculture and Agri-Meals Canada mentioned. “Beneath the Surplus Meals Rescue Program, greater than 1 million dozen eggs and over 7 million kilograms of surplus meals as a consequence of COVID-19 disruptions have been redistributed to meals banks and neighborhood meals organizations.”