Food waste has many negative social, environmental, and economic impacts. When food is wasted, all the resources that went into producing, transporting, and processing the food are also wasted, such as land, water, and energy. On a human level, it exacerbates food insecurity and hunger by reducing the amount of food available, which hits those in need the hardest.
Food waste and food insecurity are critical issues facing Canada today with food insecurity, quickly becomming an increasingly pressing issue in Canada. According to a report by Second Harvest, nearly 60% of food produced in Canada is wasted each year, that’s about 35.5 million metric tonnes.
Nearly 13 percent of households in the country, or more than 4 million individuals, experience food insecurity — insecure or inadequate access to food due to financial constraints. This represents an increase of more than 600,000 individuals between 2007 and 2012.
Shockingly, 32% of this waste is totally avoidable and this food could have been made available to be consumed by communities experiencing food insecurity. In fact, approximately 1 in 10 Canadians experience food insecurity, making this a pressing issue for the country. And the problem seems to only be growing.
The National Food Waste council investigated how much food was being wasted in Canadian households in 2022, and the results were shocking. Canadians wasted 450,000 eggs, dumped over 1 million cups of milk down the drain, and threw 2,400,000 potatoes away every single day.
It’s not surprising that 63% of the food thrown away by Canadians was still perfectly edible. The average sized family in Canadian households waste 140 kg of food a year, leading to a total cost of $1,300. If we count up all the Canadian households, that is 2.3 million tons of wasted food, which has a cost of $20 billion yearly.
Tackling hunger in our communities
As a company with food at it’s core, Fresh Prep is taking action to address food waste within the business while simultaneously supporting local charities that help people experiencing hunger and food insecurity.
Fresh Prep partners with local food recovery organizations like Vancouver Food Runners to reduce food waste while supporting local charities for the food insecure. In 2022 alone, Fresh Prep prevented 105,145 lbs of food from being thrown away—donating an equivalent of 87,620 meals to people experiencing food insecurity in our communities.
Recently acquiring Peko Box, a unique grocery delivery service, Fresh Prep is able to further streamline its efforts to reduce food waste. All surplus food is now seamlessly integrated into Peko Box production. With every Peko Box purchased, Fresh Prep donates $1 to Vancouver Food Runners and Food Stash to aid hunger in the community. This acquisition is an example of how businesses can step up and take action to make a positive impact on society.
Smarter, more sustainable practices
By using Fresh Prep, customers are integrating more sustainable practices into their lifestyles, reducing food waste and making a positive impact on the environment. First, Fresh Prep meal kits provide only what is needed, which reduces the likelihood of throwing away excess food. Second, we can plan our meals in advance, which helps us use up ingredients before they go bad. And third, we can store our ingredients properly in Fresh Prep’s patented Zero Waste Kits, which extends their shelf life.
Cooking up a better future
To tackle food waste and food insecurity issues in Canada is no small feat, but we can start by changing our mindset around food. That starts with seeing food as a precious resource, and not something that’s disposable. We can do this by being more mindful of our food choices and reducing waste wherever possible. That mindset applies to our entire food production process—from avoiding only picking the perfect produce in the fields, to including perfectly good food on store shelves even if it’s not quite aestheically perfect, and ensuring that leftovers at home get eaten.
At Fresh Prep, we’re committed to doing our part to address food waste and food insecurity in our communities. We urge all Canadians to join us in this effort by taking action in their own lives and advocating for change at a systemic level. Together, we can create a future where everyone has access to nutritious food and where food waste is a thing of the past.