"All of us — from farmers to manufacturers, from producers to distributors, from stores to homes — need to rethink how we view excess food and change our habits, so that people can benefit and an environmental crisis can be avoided."
According to a 2019 report entitled "The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste," 58% of all food produced in Canada (35.5 million tonnes) is lost or wasted every year. On top of that, a third of the wasted food could technically be saved and sent to communities in need across the country.
The report was published by Second Harvest, a Toronto agency that collects surplus food throughout the supply chain and distributes it to agencies ranging from shelters and drop-in centres to breakfast programs and summer camps.
Food waste is a problem that occurs at all stages of the food supply chain. According to the report, most waste occurs at the processing and manufacturing stage, where $21 billion dollars are wasted each year. Consumers along with hotels, restaurants and other industries (HRI) account for $10.37 and $7.14 billion respectively. In total, the value of all food that is lost or wasted in Canada is a staggering $49 billion, which is enough to feed every Canadian for five months. This equals an annual avoidable food loss and waste figure of $1,766 per household in Canada.
*These figures don’t include the immense production costs, such as water, power, fertilizer, labour etc.,as well disposal fees. The environmental costs include GHG emissions produced by food decomposition in landfill.
Causes of Food Waste
The report outlines a number number of "root causes" of avoidable food loss and waste. Included among the numerous causes are:
One of the main barriers to successful food diversion (and donation) is confusion about best-before dates and their association with expired or unsafe food. The truth is that only five foods expire and should not be eaten after a best-before date. These include meal replacements, such as Boost, baby formula, protein bars and a couple of prescriptions. Otherwise, those dates identify the ideal “freshness” period of a product, not its safety. In addition, these dates are often already conservative.
Food loss and waste (FLW) carries massive economic costs to both businesses and society. It also has a significant environmental impact. FLW represents almost 60 percent of the food industry’s environmental footprint. Much of this waste and its environmental footprint is entirely avoidable. Food that ends up in landfills creates methane gas which is 25 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. Food waste in Canada creates some 56.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions every year, according to the report.
"All of us — from farmers to manufacturers, from producers to distributors, from stores to homes — need to rethink how we view excess food and change our habits, so that people can benefit and an environmental crisis can be avoided," the report warns.
The Egg Garden was designed with environmental and economic sustainability in mind. By using hydroponic growing technology, the Egg Garden can produce the fruit and vegetable needs of consumers, restaurants, hotels and other industries without contributing to the large amounts of food waste and pollution that are created by the traditional food supply chain.