Local Viewpoint - Are grocery stores reducing food waste?

In May France passed a new law that makes it illegal to throw away food from a supermarket that is still safe to eat. The edible food must be given to charities, or farmers, who can then use the food for animal feed and/or compost.

Stores with over 4,305 square feet have until the end of next July to sign agreement with different charities or they will face hefty fines. 

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All over the world it’s been a topic of discussion on why grocery stores will get rid of perfectly good food, and not better the city or community and help out others instead of the food just going into the bin. 

Dumpster diving for food has become a way of life for many people, as they know there could be fresh food. There have even been documentaries about people in New York living off dumpster food for multiple years.

With the new law passing in France, I am curious to see what Canada would do with the news. Will Canada travel the same path and pass a law, or will they continue to dump food in a dumpster, and watch starving people climb in to grab an apple or a head of lettuce?

Safeway in Thompson says reducing food waste is a priority, and the company is always trying to find new ways to reduce the food waste in their stores. The Thompson store receives daily deliveries to help avoid the need to carry more than needed inventory on perishable products, and display cases in the bakery and deli area is built to store less inventory. 

Almost every Safeway store has a partnership with a local food bank who will pick up perishable product donations like bread that are not purchased by customers. Products close to their expiry date are also price reduced, and if not sold are donations to food banks and soup kitchens. 

On average food banks pick up 4-6 times a week at Safeway stores, and annually Safeway donates over $10 million in kind to food banks.

However, the majority of food waste happens in a home, but 11 per cent does happen at the grocery store level. 

Although neither the province, nor the country has passed a law for food reduction and waste, the efforts at major grocery chains show that they’re taking measures into their own hands, and helping out the citizens that need the food instead of wasting it all. 

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