Food | Nearly 96% of surplus wasted

While the price of groceries continues to rise, nearly 96% of surplus food in the country is wasted and ends up in the trash instead of ending up on the plates of less well-off consumers. At least that’s what the study says. A wasted opportunity: reversing the trend of waste through recovery, conducted by Second Harvest, a food recovery organization, in collaboration with Value Chain Management International (VCMI).

Posted at 9:00 a.m.

Nathaelle Morissette

Nathaelle Morissette
The Press

124,000 trucks loaded

This is what corresponds to the quantities of food sacrificed each year by the food industry in Canada, according to the study whose conclusions will be unveiled on Tuesday. Thus, 3.1 million tons of edible food are wasted and not recovered by organizations responsible for distributing them to people in need. To conduct its research, Second Harvest identified 127,177 “potential surplus donors”. Among them are farmers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, hotels, restaurants and catering services, among others. And nearly half of these companies (45%) say they produce surplus food, that is, food that does not meet the industry standard, but which is edible.

If he did not want to comment specifically on these figures, Richard Daneau, general manager of Moisson Montreal, confirms that “there are huge quantities of food that are available”. “It’s just about getting organized and picking them up,” he adds.


In April 2020 and March 2021, Moisson Montreal got its hands on 21 million kilograms of food for a value of $120 million.

The share of supermarkets

According to the study, among those who have surpluses, almost 94% of respondents in the hotel and restaurant industry say they produce less than a ton per month, compared to 6.4% who generate one ton. ton or more. As for retailers, 93% find themselves with surpluses totaling less than one tonne and 7.3% with one tonne or more. Nearly 63% of wholesalers, meanwhile, said they produce a ton or more of surplus monthly. However, it is difficult to know what happens to the surpluses generated by these companies. Asked about this, Michel Rochette, president for Quebec of the Retail Council of Canada (RCCD) – which represents major brands such as IGA, Metro, Loblaw, Costco and Walmart – assures that many efforts are being made by supermarkets. to limit waste. “There is no supermarket in Quebec that has an interest in losing food,” he points out. Mr. Rochette adds that all the brands participate in the Supermarket Recovery Program (PRS) allowing unsold items to be sent to food recovery organizations. “A maximum of effort is being made. »


Nearly 63% of wholesalers say they produce a ton or more of surplus food monthly.


Lack of financial benefits, policies discouraging food donations, and lack of coordination between collection agencies and businesses are all barriers to reducing food waste, the report said. “Companies are often hesitant to quantify their surpluses and don’t donate due to food safety, liability and financial concerns,” it says.

“Currently, the cost of sending surpluses to the landfill site is so low that, for companies, it’s not worth it to look for another solution,” says Marie-José Mastromonaco, director of operations for Second Harvest. .

It is always possible that there are coordination problems. But the rest of us, when a donor calls us, we go out of our way to get the food,” he adds.

Richard Daneau, General Manager of Moisson Montreal

And his body is always looking for ways to increase the amount of food that can be scavenged. For example, Richard Daneau is currently in discussions with one of his donors to increase his fruit and vegetable intake. “We are trying to find ways to [aller en chercher plus] without bringing trash, he insists. It is not because we give it to poor people that we should give them food that is no longer beautiful. To “save” as many fruits and vegetables as possible, Moisson Montréal has set up facilities to sanitize and bleach this type of food, giving it a longer shelf life.

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