Canadians wasting less food during pandemic

VANCOUVER – A new nation-wide survey shows that Canadians are wasting less food while COVID-19 public health measures have been in place. While people are buying more food overall, 24 percent of households are throwing away or composting less uneaten food and 94 percent of Canadians are motivated to reduce their household’s avoidable food waste.

Since the introduction of public health measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 63 percent of Canadians are shopping less often, but are buying more food per trip than before. More households are adopting food-saving habits, especially checking what food is already in the house, freezing foods to extend shelf life, and getting creative with leftovers.

“This new research confirms that Canadians are thinking about making the most of the food they buy. We know that 84 percent of Canadians believe that everyone has a responsibility to prevent avoidable food waste in their households,” said Malcolm Brodie, chair of the National Zero Waste Council.

“We are excited to build on this momentum and support Canadians with the tools, insights, and resources they need to make preventing food waste in the home the new normal.”

Love Food Hate Waste Canada, which sponsored the survey, works with partners like Sobeys Inc., who are responding to these consumer insights by making waste reduction part of their corporate mandate.

“This research shows that our customers are highly motivated to reduce waste, which is why as part of our sustainability strategy, we are on a mission to reduce food waste in our operations by 50 percent by 2025,” said Vittoria Varalli, vice-president of sustainability at Sobeys Inc.

“We are working with partners like Love Food Hate Waste to find innovative solutions to help us reach this goal.”

“As a partner in Love Food Hate Waste Canada, the City of Vancouver is encouraged by the results of the food waste survey,” said Albert Shamess, director, Zero Waste and Resource Recovery, City of Vancouver.

“The numbers show that Canadians across the country have adopted important food-saving behaviours in response to the pandemic. We look forward to supporting Vancouver residents to help them reinforce these new habits and build upon them as we work collectively towards reducing avoidable food waste and meeting our Zero Waste 2040 goals.”

“The study highlights the importance of giving Quebecers who are looking for sources of information the tools they need to actively participate in the fight against food waste,” said Sonia Gagné, CEO of RECYC- QUÉBEC.