Let’s talk food waste. Food wastage is a significant problem in Canada – many don’t realize just how significant food waste is in our own communities. Canada ranks among the biggest food wasters in the world. According to a recent study, an estimated 58% of food produced in the country is wasted, amounting to approximately 35 million tonnes per year.
Let’s highlight a few stats about food waste in Canada that are alarming:
Of the 35 million tonnes of food wasted annually, 32% or 11.2 million tonnes (this is equivalent to the weight of almost 95 CN Towers) is edible and could be diverted to support people in our local communities.
Food wastage in Canada causes 56.6 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions.
Annually, 45% of all produced fruits and vegetables are wasted.
People waste an estimated $30 billion of food every year.
Canada is the third biggest gas emitter in the world. Organics wasted in a landfill produce methane gas which is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
These food waste statistics make it abundantly clear – minimizing food waste is imperative.
Benefits of Food Waste Reduction
Now that we know the impact of the current food waste, let’s look at why strategies to reduce it makes a difference. Reducing food waste has many environmental, social, and economic benefits. Some of these benefits include:
Environmental: Reducing food waste helps to conserve natural resources such as water, land, and energy that are used in food production. It also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transportation, and disposal of uneaten food.
Social: Minimizing food waste can help to alleviate poverty and hunger by redirecting surplus food to those in need.
Economic: Reducing food waste can save money for individuals, businesses, and governments by reducing the costs associated with producing, transporting, and disposing of uneaten food.
Overall, minimizing food waste is a critical step in creating a sustainable food system that benefits everyone.
Strategies to Avoid Food Waste
Food waste can be avoided by implementing several strategies, such as:
Proper planning and inventory management: This involves forecasting demand and adjusting ordering and production accordingly, to minimize overproduction and surplus.
Redesigning supply chains: Businesses can adopt more efficient supply chain practices, such as reducing transportation distances, and implementing more accurate forecasting and ordering systems.
Donating surplus food: Food that is still safe and fit for consumption can be donated to food banks and other organizations that provide meals to those in need.
Repurposing and composting: Surplus food that is not fit for human consumption can be used as animal feed or composted to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Employee training and education: Educating employees about the importance of reducing food waste and providing them with the tools and resources they need to help can also help to minimize waste in a business.
Measuring and tracking progress: Regularly monitoring and tracking food waste can help businesses identify areas for improvement and track the impact of their efforts to reduce waste.
Dana’s Food Waste Reduction Initiatives
At Dana, we are determined to do our part in reducing food waste. Our people and chefs are educated on sustainable food practices and how to minimize food waste in our operations wherever they can. When there is surplus food, we do our best to donate to food banks or food recovery organizations. We look for simple solutions such as adjusting portion sizes, adapting to changes in demand, and avoiding mistakes in preparation to avoid waste.
We also conduct regular food waste audits and create monthly data reports. We use this data to inform and continuously improve our strategies to reduce food waste and better our local communities – all while still maintaining our reputation to serve delicious, well-balanced meals.
We use our five pillars of sustainability include:
Responsible, thoughtful, and safe procurement
Care for people and local communities
Health-focused menu engineering and food preparation
Reducing and measuring food waste
Focused efficient energy management
From our senior leaders to our front-line staff, we all stand by our scratch, fresh, local philosophy.
An example of how we reduce waste, improve efficiency, and show creativity in the use of our ingredients is outlined below with fresh versus frozen broccoli. By procuring fresh, local broccoli and utilizing the entire vegetable we save time on processing steps, such as cutting and packaging, reduce wastage, and create delicious, healthy dishes from portions of the stalk that would otherwise be thrown out or unused. We currently use broccoli stalks to create soup bases, we shave it for salads and even use portions of it to create “green” pancakes that are a guest favourite!
Our Focus on Local
According to Canadian food waste statistics, 396 kilograms of food are wasted annually per capita while getting from the farm to the table. At Dana, we do our best to lower our environmental impact through sourcing with local providers.
Using local produce in key because it has several sustainability and community benefits, including:
Lower environmental impact: Local sourcing reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting produce from far away, helping to minimize the environmental impact of the food industry.
Seasonal menu options: Sourcing produce locally allows us to offer menu items that are in season and reflect the local cuisine, which is appealing to our guests.
Improved relationships with suppliers: By establishing direct relationships with local farmers, we’re able to develop a better understanding of their supply chain and can work together to reduce waste and improve sustainability.
Better quality control: Sourcing produce directly from local farmers allows us to have better control over the quality of the produce we use, which helps to ensure consistent and high-quality dishes for our guests. The more satisfied guests are with their food, the less likely they are to waste it.
Supports local economy: By sourcing produce from local farmers, food service companies can support their local economy and help to create jobs in the community.
Additionally, partnering with local providers means food is fresher and tastier. Local produce is often harvested just before use, ensuring that it’s fresher and has a better flavour than produce that has been transported long distances.
Fighting food waste is a daily effort. Together as a community, let’s do all we can to execute strategies that help us reduce our carbon footprint and eliminate waste as we build a more sustainable future.
Are you looking for a food service partner that prioritizes sustainable food practices? Reach out to us today!