Food waste is the loss of food along the value chain that is either suitable for human consumption or will be fit for consumption after processing. Based on a 2019 report by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International, in Canada, 58% of all food produced is either lost or wasted. Food waste often ends up in landfills where it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Statistics show that food waste occurs across Canada’s food supply chain with 6% of wasted food occurring in distribution and retail stores alone.
Sobeys recognizes its role as a retailer in addressing food waste in its operations as well as educating consumers on how to reduce food waste at home.
Reducing Food Waste in Our Operations
In January 2019, Sobeys announced its commitment to reduce food waste in its directly owned and operated operations by 50% by 2025. With guidance from the National Zero Waste Council and Provision Coalition, two organizations with tremendous experience in supporting Canadian business in the quest to take action on food waste, teams across the company are working together towards the 50% reduction target.
This exciting commitment provides a focused approach to leverage current ways Sobeys prevents, redistributes and repurposes surplus food while creating new and innovative opportunities. Action has already taken place to significantly reduce food waste by closely monitoring waste, developing new merchandising and markdown programs, enhancing forecasts and communications with suppliers, redirecting surplus food to those in need and repurposing food that isn’t appropriate for human consumption such as livestock feed or compost. Progress on the commitment will be measured using the globally recognized Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Accounting and Reporting Standard.
We also work closely with local not for profit partners to help address food insecurity in the communities we serve. For example between June 2018-2019:
- Our Nova Scotia stores provided nearly 400,000 kgs of food to Feed Nova Scotia, the equivalent of 866,702 meals
- Through the Thrifty Food Rescue program, we have diverted nearly 1 million units of food
Studies have shown that while food is wasted throughout the food supply chain, food waste also occurs at home. Sobeys is a founding partner of the Love Food Hate Waste Canada National campaign, an initiative of the National Zero Waste Council. The behaviour change campaign aims to help Canadian households make their food go further and waste less. The campaign has been received extremely positively in its first year, reaching thousands of Canadians across the country through national marketing and outreach efforts.
Additionally, in January 2019, our Fonds Éco IGA provided members of our Quebec communities À vos frigos workshops, educating nearly 3,000 people on food waste reduction at home.
- "Love Food Hate Waste"? Check out https://lovefoodhatewaste.ca for tips and recipes on how to make the most of the food you love!