Canadian’s throw away almost half their food. Recent studies estimate that we are chucking 40 per cent, or $31 billion worth. A large part of the problem is we have so much food, we don’t think twice about throwing it out. Compared to many parts of the world, Canada has relatively cheap produce, so one could assume we are more likely to throw it out.
In Canada, the government regulates all food packaging, including best before dates. You can buy and eat foods after the best before dates; however, the food may lose some of the freshness and flavour, or the texture may have changed.
For example, the food bank can take canned food, except tomatoes, that are up to 2 years passed their best before date.
In Dorchester, Boston a non-profit grocery store called the Daily Table realized that all best before dates in the United States are not regulated and found that Americans threw out more than 34 million tons of food in 2012.
The Daily Table works with a large network of growers, supermarkets, manufactures, and other suppliers who donate their excess, healthy food to them. They are able to sell produce at a significantly lower price for all their customers. All of their food meets the guidelines set for them by a leading group of nutritionists.
Like them, we partner with many different networks to eliminate food waste in our community. We receive produce from the food industry, local grocery stores such as Safeway and local farmers markets like Broxburn.
Because of these partnerships, food that is still good is staying out of landfills and getting in to the hands of people who need it. At the Daily Table they are able to sell bananas for as little as $0.29/pound and apples for $0.49/pound, normally costing as much as $1 each at local deli’s.
We thought it was pretty fantastic that other areas around the world, such as the Daily Table, are making it affordable and convenient for people to access healthy and nutritious produce.