Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario Commentary
By Josh Kraemer, CFFO Communications Intern
This summer, the federal government launched the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign with the goal to inspire and empower people to make their food go further for them and ultimately to reduce household food waste.
Canada’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign is modelled after the same campaign in the United Kingdom. In the UK, the campaign has been proven to change behaviour: the UK cut avoidable food waste by 21 percent in its first five years. UK consumers were able to save 13 billion Euros in that time.
The LFHW website offers several surprising statistics on Canada’s food waste. For example, 47% of Canada’s food waste comes from households, the average Canadian throws out 170kg of food every year, and 60% of the food that Canadians throw away could have been eaten.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation explains that when we include the food waste that occurs in the rest of the supply chain, Canada wastes 396kg of food per person annually. The Love Food Hate Waste website offers an in-depth look at the food that is wasted in Canada every year.
The economic cost of the food that is wasted in the process from growing it to eating it is estimated at $30 billion every year and not only does this cost Canadians money, but it also has severe environmental impacts. At 396kg of food wasted per capita, Canadians are producing 21 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Rather than generating these emissions at landfills, the CFFO would like to see food waste composted and used as soil amendments.
In their pursuit to help reduce food waste in Canada, the LFHW campaign offers plenty of guidance and education for Canadian consumers through things like their waste-free summer produce guide, fridge guide, freezer guide, and shelf life calculator, and tips for using up food.
Food waste is a serious problem. It plays a role in numerous issues, one being its impact on farmers. Farmers pay the full costs of production and are only reimbursed for what they can sell. The food industry’s pursuit of volume over quality is a core contributor to overproduction, and it may be time to consider higher quality products for less waste and higher profits.
With so much food being wasted, the CFFO also sees an opportunity to do good. That $30 billion worth of lost food could be used to help those in need. Every month, roughly 850,000 people use food banks in Canada. Luckily, Ontario was one of the first provinces to implement a tax credit for farmers donating to food banks and the Ontario Association of Food Banks has a helpful brochure.
As one of the world’s worst contributors to food waste, Canadians need to do better.