Charlebois: the “rescue” of food becomes common, in time for Thanksgiving

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Consumers are responsible for 48 percent of all food wasted, more than farmers, processors and grocers. It is normal to view consumers as the best potential food savers.

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Many have argued that the term “food waste” should never be used, and there is some truth to this. Food is precious and always has value in someone, somewhere. Associating food with the term “waste” can only imply that food may become worthless. We can compost it, use it to produce biofuels, and of course we can reuse it and even recover it. It is not really a waste. As food prices gradually rise these days, the entire food supply chain now enables consumers to save food more than ever.

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Yes, save food.

Grocers no longer put a rack of shelves in a dark part of the grocery store to sell discounted food items that are about to expire. In fact, when you walk into a grocery store, any store, it’s now common to see discounted food items displayed prominently in a busy section of the store. These discounts can be substantial, ranging from 25% to 50% in some cases. Many have noticed that “enjoy tonight” offers are becoming more common, especially at the meat counter. While grocers can reduce spoilage, consumers have the option of “saving” food from near-certain fate in a landfill. According to a recent survey by Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in partnership with Caddle, 39.6% of Canadians buy products at a reduced price – with expiration or best before dates within days of the product. purchase – more often than in 2020. Overall, 26.9% of Canadians buy more often than in 2020.

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The “pay what you feel” movement is also taking off. The Food Stash Foundation, a Vancouver-based charity, launched the Rescued Food Market at the city’s Olympic Village on October 1. The group saves well over 60,000 pounds of food per month, which would otherwise have gone to landfill. The Rescued Food Market will stock perishable foods including produce, meat, cheese, milk, and eggs. The store’s inventory comes from grocery stores, wholesalers and farms. The store encourages everyone to donate or pay for what they think is worth the food they eat.

Over 35.5 million tonnes of perfectly good food is thrown away in Canada each year, enough to fill 319,000 Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s.

Another location in Toronto called “Pay What You Can Grocery Store, Café and Bakery” on Dundas Street just opened a few days ago, with the same operating model. It’s about retailing food, reusing it and reducing spoilage. We expect more of these types of stores to open in the coming months.

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Can’t make it to these places? No problem. Your cell phone has you covered now. Apps like Flashfood and FoodHero will let you know about daily deals in your neighborhood, no matter where you are in the country. Some discounts can go up to 50%. These apps are useful portals, allowing consumers to do substantial business while helping the environment, if you’re willing to compromise on freshness, of course. But for many consumers, compromising on quality and freshness is still not an option.

But the food rescue is far from new. Second Harvest, the country’s largest food rescue program, has been around for 36 years. It redistributes enough food to prepare more than 60,000 meals a day. The issues of food waste and food recovery have since gained attention for both environmental and food safety reasons. Indeed, Second Harvest’s biggest achievement has been to create competition for itself, involving more people in valuing all the food we have, while removing the stigma of food waste. Storing food is now an interesting thing to do, which was not the case in 1985 when Second Harvest started.

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Over 35.5 million tonnes of perfectly good food is thrown away in Canada each year, enough to fill 319,000 Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s. The thought of all the work and resources invested in producing this food, only to be thrown away, prompts consumers to change their food choices. Consumers are responsible for 48 percent of all food wasted, more than farmers, processors and grocers. It is normal to view consumers as the best potential food savers.

Instead of hoarding food, consumers should think about doing the opposite. Buying food according to your needs will definitely save you money and save more food. With the current food economic trends, consumers will be rewarded for their patience and for using multiple points of purchase.

With Thanksgiving weekend approaching, we have a lot to be thankful for, both despite and because of what we’ve been through over the past few months. But our food budgets have been challenged lately. Nonetheless, food is only getting more expensive unless you look for the lifesaving opportunities you have.

Teacher. Sylvain Charlebois is Senior Director of the Agri-Food Analysis Laboratory at Dalhousie University.

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