Friday, January 18, 2019

Whaaaat? More than Half of Food Produced in Canada is Wasted.

It seems that Canadians are doing something seriously wrong when it comes to food.
More than half the food produced in Canada is wasted and the average kitchen tosses out hundreds of dollars worth of edibles every year, says a study researchers are calling the first of its kind. 
"It's a lot of food," said Lori Nikkel of Second Harvest, the Toronto-based group working to reduce food waste that commissioned the study.

"We waste more food than we consume." 
The study released Thursday is the world's first to measure food waste using data from industry and other sources instead of estimates, said Martin Gooch of Value Chain Management International, which conducted the study.
Value Chain works with agriculture, aquaculture, marine and food industries to make them more profitable. 
"What we did was actually go to industry and (said), 'Give us primary data,'" Gooch said. "This is the first time anywhere in the world that anyone's gone out and got primary data that connects production with consumers." 
Results were checked with industry experts. 
"At every point in the process, we ground-truthed it," said Gooch. 
"We're confident our results are conservative." 
Previous work has suggested that Canadians waste almost 400 kilograms of food per person, one of the world's highest totals. The new work adds considerable detail to that figure. 
Apples rot in the grass for lack of harvest workers. Surplus milk is flushed. Thousands of hectares of produce are plowed after cancelled orders. 
The report, funded largely by the Walmart Foundation, concludes 58 per cent of Canadian food production is wasted.  
The report says the value of usable groceries that wind up in landfills or other disposal sites is almost $50 billion. That's more than half the amount Canadians spend on food every year and is enough to feed every Canadian for five months. 
As well, it says avoidable food waste in Canada produces more than 22 million tonnes of climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions.


Toby said...

Frankly, I don't accept their findings, at least not as being presented. Around here there a lots of apple orchards that don't get fully picked. It's an end of season problem. Pickers have gone home and there's no one to pick the stragglers which often aren't saleable. No problem, the geese get them.

I can't attest for all restaurants but a friend used to have an arrangement to collect food leftovers for his pigs. Food that is eventually used for animal feed or plowed back in to refresh soil should be subtracted from the report's total. The only waste I see is at the dump.

Anonymous said...

CBC TV has shown on Marketplace twice the food thrown away by Loblaws, Sobeys and Walmart. Getting close to the sell-by date? Toss it even if it's perfectly good and could be sent to foodbanks or institutions willing to pick it up. Too much trouble to organize, apparently.

Nobody ever ate or picked or ground-gathered the overripe or wind blown every apple except in a famine. Too many spuds? Adjust acreage for next year. Plow in the excess and richen the soil.

I have no real idea how much food is thrown away in the home these days. Few people go around snooping on their friends and acquaintances. In our household, nothing is thrown away but peelings and bones. We grew up after WW2 and waste not was drilled into us. Sure that means leftovers have to used in another meal, it isn't that hard. Make soup, stew, whatever. Half-eaten MickyD type food doesn't surprise me. It really is inedible and people buy it from habit not desire. I don't see as much thrown out as in the sixties, though. Then it seemed the thing to be overflush with food as a sign of prosperity. At least, it seemed to us to be like that having emigrated from England in 1959.


John B. said...

Food banks don't want anything that's past its best-before. I saw a feature recently on an American TV broadcast in which a guy associated with one explained that most food, depending on its chemistry, is safe to consume long after the date has passed. He cited the example of some type of canned stuff that he claimed would be okay five to seven years beyond its best-before. He didn't talk about inspection and testing or liability issues, but he did say that his organization would accept and distribute these items depending on what product was in the package.

The Mound of Sound said...

John hit the raw nerve - liability. All food processors, distributors and retailers have insurers who want to minimize their risk. They don't want to have to pay out for some company's mistakes. Ergo the already wobbly "best before" date acquires a scriptural quality. Just another in a long string of examples of how fucked up we've become.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Have only one or two meals a day?
Minimize snacks?
Then whatever you fix to eat you're sure to finish, as you're not going to be stuffed to the hilt and, thus, you'll be hungry enough to polish it off whole.

Anonymous said...

Recently...I have seen young women purchasing food and eating half and putting the rest in the waste bin. What they buy isn't much on their plate to begin with. I wood like to approach them but I'd probably get told..."it's none of your business you old woman or worse". And, of course, other people in the vicinity would laugh. Anyong