New Report –The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste

January 29th, 2019

Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, and Value Chain Management International, a leading public and industry voice in the area of food waste, conducted a year-long research project and have just released a report of key findings and action items for food waste in Canada. This report is the first to use front-line, primary data from the entire food supply chain. It is also the first time metrics have been standardized across the food system to look at food waste.

The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste found that 58% of food produced in Canada (35.5 million metric tonnes) is lost and wasted annually. 32% (11.2 million metric tonnes) of this amount is avoidable — edible food that could be redirected to support people in our communities.

Here are some key findings from the report:

• There are two types of food loss and waste: avoidable, which occurs when produce, for example, makes it to market but is not purchased; and unavoidable, such as when inedible food by-products, like animal bones, are discarded
• Processing and manufacturing are the largest sources of avoidable food waste. Almost 5 million tonnes of food (about $21 billion worth) are lost or wasted during processing and manufacturing.
• About 2.4 million tonnes of food, (more than $10 billion worth) are lost at the consumer level.
• The annual cost of avoidable food loss and waste in Canada is $1,766 per household.
• In total, the value of all food that is lost or wasted in Canada is almost $50 billion.

Before this report, it was thought that most of the food waste in Canada was at the household level. To the contrary, this new report by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management shows that the vast majority of Canadian food waste takes place within the food industry, during production and processing.

Food waste is a systems issue that needs to be tackled on all levels. This report highlights the role of government, industry and consumers in waste reduction, and gives key recommendations to all three groups.

To view The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste report click here.