The hefty bill for food waste in Quebec

What ends up being wasted has an impact on the planet that could have been savedsummarizes Anne Marie Aubert, coordinator of the Montreal Food System Council, bluntly.

Food waste includes table scraps, spoiled food, and past-by-date food, as defined by Recyc-Québec, a government agency responsible for investigating good recycling practices.

If meat and poultry account for 13% of food waste, says Ms Aubert, they account for 59% of greenhouse gas emissions. These foods need to be targeted if our goal is to reduce our environmental impactadvises the food expert in an interview with ICI RDI.

As for the waste generated by the industry itself, Companies have little incentive to measure, monitor and reduce their food residues, completes an extensive study (New window) Quantifying food loss and waste in Quebec, released June.

The report shows the attitude of companies that want this Getting at least some return on investment, so they don’t want to throw away (or donate) food before its shelf life is minimal or expired, often without notice.

This commercial approach hampers organizations’ ability to recover and redistribute edible food, notes the study, which also cautions against it Food losses and waste have enormous economic, environmental and social costs for individuals and society as a whole.

Does “best before” on packaging contribute to food waste? Interview with Louise Hénault-Ethier, Director of the Eau Terre Environment Center of the National Institute for Scientific Research.

risk assessment

Supermarkets and grocery stores take care of this in their economic interest manage their inventory well to avoid wastefor his part, defended Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, President and CEO of the Quebec Food Retailers Association.

Mr Blouin remains more cautious about scrapping sell-by dates along the lines of Waitrose and other UK brands such as industry giant Tesco, which removed the sell-by date on a hundred products dating back to 2018, or more recently Marks and Spencer doing so have done same to 300 references.

Comparing food waste in Quebec with the rest of the world is difficult, says the CEO of the Association of Quebec Food Retailers. Inspection processes, methods, obligations are differenthe is arguing.

Blouin, ça nous permet de gérer les rotations de produits;quand on \”portionne\” un aliment, un jambon tranché par exemple, il y a un compte à rebours, car le produit est bon pour une durée donnée.”,”text”:”Pour nous, une date de meilleur avant, c’est un outil de travail, justifie M.Blouin, ça nous permet de gérer les rotations de produits;quand on \”portionne\” un aliment, un jambon tranché par exemple, il y a un compte à rebours, car le produit est bon pour une durée donnée.”}}”>For us, a best-before date is a working tool, explains Mr. Blouin, it allows us to manage product rotations; When you “portion” a food, for example a sliced ​​ham, there is a countdown because the product is good for a certain amount of time.

It is important to give the customer the right information so that he can consume the product without endangering his health. »

A quote from Pierre-Alexandre Blouin, CEO of the Quebec Food Retailers Association

Mr. Blouin shares nonetheless An opening on the part of food retailers to get more involved in the fight against waste, but it needs us beaconshe nuances.

lever of the school

In 2022, the National Zero Waste Council conducted an investigation into household waste in Canada. According to this initiative, which aims to limit waste and promote a circular economy, 63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten.

For the average Canadian household, that means 140kg of food is thrown away every year — a bill of more than $1,300 a year, according to analysis figures.

Finallyit’s inflation that could limit food waste, predicts Jacques Nantel, professor emeritus in the Department of Marketing at HEC Montréal.

For consumers concerned about limiting waste, several public resources help avoid waste by providing information, particularly on the lifespan of food, or by providing safe food storage temperatures.

Anne Marie Aubert is convinced that the fight against food waste will go through better education.

Canada remains the only G7 country without a school feeding program, she notes. This program not only feeds children, but also educates them about healthy eating, cooking skills and food budgets.

With information from ICI RDI, the Tout un matin program and Agence France-Presse

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