Here’s Why We Need to Keep Fighting Food Waste
Anyone who grows, works with, or eats food has a role to play in curbing food waste!
In North America alone, there is roughly 168 million tonnes of food loss and waste generated across the food supply chain every year. And on the home front, Love Food Hate Waste Canada reported that, in 2020, 63% of the food Canadians threw in the garbage or put in the compost could have actually been eaten. These stats speak for themselves: the issue of food waste is a big one, and people everywhere need to be part of the solution!
The first part of limiting food waste is realizing that there are many opportunities for food to be lost while making its way from plant to plate. This could look like a misshapen Pepper being thrown away just for the way it looks, or someone throwing out a Cucumber because they didn’t store it properly in their fridge. Once we know more about where and how our food is being wasted, we can find new solutions that help us improve our food supply chain.
Our team is working hard every day to curb food waste across our farms. From the moment a Pepper comes off the plant, to its final journey to your local store, we are there every step of the way finding ways to keep food waste to a minimum. Let’s take a look at our efforts to curb food waste across our farms, plus some extra tips and tricks to help you reduce your own food waste footprint!
Fighting Food Waste in the Greenhouse
We grow things different to make a difference. Greenhouse growing is all about creating the perfect environment so that our plants get everything they need to grow the best food possible. With complete control over elements like temperature, watering, and even sunlight, we can set higher standards for the fruits and vegetables we grow. But there is always a chance that some of the foods we grow will turn out to be a different shape or size from the rest–and then what?
Waste Me Nots Program
We strive for perfection in everything we grow, but sometimes, food still comes off the vine misshapen, bent, or in different sizes. Even if they look a little different, these Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers will still have a crisp crunch, juicy bite, and healthy dose of vitamins that make them worth saving!
That’s why we created the Waste Me Nots program: to give special Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers a second chance at shelf life. They may come in different shapes and sizes, but we know that these fresh foods deserve to be tasted, not wasted.
Fighting Food Waste in the Distribution Center
To fight food waste, we also need to listen and learn from our experiences. In our Distribution Center, we would sometimes see food go to waste when it was still fresh, tasty, and nutritious–and we weren’t happy about it. So we decided to set some new goals to help transform food loss frustrations into food rescue opportunities!
One of the first steps we took towards achieving our food waste goals was partnering with local food rescue organizations. We are always happy to play a part in getting healthy food into the hands of those who need it, and food rescue groups specialize in seeking healthy food (including fresh produce) to distribute within our communities. The roughly 10,000 pounds of fresh food that we provide for our food rescue partners every week usually doesn’t meet size or shape requirements to be regularly sold in stores, but it is still delicious and nutritious, making it the perfect option for food rescue programs.
One of our most recent efforts to curb food waste in our Distribution Centers was to hire Food Loss Coordinators. These team members – our opportunistic wanderers – are constantly on the move within our Distribution Centers to find and present sales opportunities for unique products that need a home. Their work has not only helped us keep food waste at a minimum, but also encouraged us to think differently about solutions when dealing with odds and ends in our inventory!
Curbing Food Waste with Packaging
Smart packaging means less waste. No matter what kind of waste we’re talking about, smarter packaging has an important role to play. When we start exploring new ways to package our products, shelf-life testing is a big part of the process! Shelf-life testing helps us discover what kind of packaging will keep our products fresher for longer–and the better the shelf-life results, the less food is wasted.
We’ve been working hard to discover, test, and launch new packaging options that help fulfill our mission to limit waste. We’re interested in packaging that protects both our products and the planet, so you can imagine how excited we were to announce some of our latest eco-friendly packages!
After 2 years of thorough research and development, we officially launched our 100% home compostable Cucumber wrap in the North American marketplace in 2020! Made from a starch-based material and printed with compostable ink, this eco-friendly wrap fully breaks down in a home compost bin without leaving behind any microplastics–all while keeping our Cucumbers crisp and protected.
Our compostable pulp-molded tray is another eco-friendly package that has been in the marketplace since 2018. The tray took close to a year to fully develop, and since its launch, it has saved, to date, over 150,000 pounds of Styrofoam trays from entering landfills! This is a great success story that shows the impact an eco-friendly package can have when it comes to reducing waste.
Limiting Food Waste in Your Home
There’s a lot we can do to curb food waste across our farms–but you have an important role to play at home, too. From starting a compost pile to learning more about proper vegetable storage, there are lots of practical ways you can curb food waste in your kitchen! Here are a few tips and resources to get you started:
- Store your vegetables properly – Did you know the best place to store fresh Tomatoes is on the countertop? Storing food properly is one of the easiest ways to limit food waste in your kitchen. Explore our Veggie Storage Guide for expert food storage tips to keep your Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers fresh.
- Start a compost pile – Many food scraps we throw in the garbage are perfect fuel for a backyard compost pile! Home composting is becoming a more popular option for families who want to have a more positive impact on the planet. Here’s our guide for creating your own home compost pile and tips for maintaining a healthy pile of humus!
- Buy wisely – You have the power to make a difference with your dollar. Whether that means buying certain fresh foods when they’rein-season or learning how to pick the best produce off the shelf, the more thought you put into your purchases, the better. Take a look through our Produce Buying Guide so you can learn how to pick the freshest produce possible!
- Get creative – The last thing you want to do is let your extra Tomatoes, Peppers, or Cucumbers go to waste, which is why we came up with lots of creative ways to use them up! Here are our best recipe ideas to help you use up your extra Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers.
Everyone has a role to play in the fight against food waste. But if we all start thinking differently, we can make a difference!