Food waste is a global environmental issue, says Lori Nikkel, director, Programs and Partnerships at Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization. That, more than anything, has propelled food waste onto government policy agendas, leading to such actions as a strong policy statement from the government of Ontario aimed at municipalities and new research from Second Harvest on the scale of the problem in Canada.
“If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest emitter [of greenhouse gases] next to China and the U.S.,” Nikkel told EcoLog News. Everybody who thinks seriously about climate change thinks about food waste, she says.
Canada loses or wastes approximately $31 billion of food every year, says Nikkel. That’s a trillion dollars of food at the retail level, she says.
Surprisingly, very little research has been done on food loss and waste in the value chain between the farmer’s field and the supermarket’s shelf. In partnership with the consulting firm Value Chain Management International (VCMI) and with financial support from the Walmart Foundation, Second Harvest is taking that on.
VCMI will survey between 800 and 1,000 respondents from across the entire value chain to gain insights from farmers, food and beverage processors, retailers, foodservice operators, institutions and food redistributors across Canada. The research will help identify where, how and why waste occurs along the chain and allow VCMI to propose redistribution, reuse and recycling practices intended to reduce the percentage of food sent to landfill.
The research is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. Organizations in the food value chain in Canada may participate in the research by clicking on the Food Loss & Waste (FLW) Survey – 2018 until June 22, 2018.