Getting a jump on food loss and waste at processing

Much of what we produce in agriculture ends up wasted, not eaten. While food waste in your own home may be the first thing you think of, much of food loss and waste happens at processing.

Speaking this week at the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) Public Trust Summit, Cher Mereweather, executive director of Provision Coalition, shares that Canada’s food processing industry is “out billions of dollars” through food loss and waste.

Cher Mereweather. Supplied photo.

Mereweather’s organization is partnered with CCFI on a one-year project, supported by the WalMart Foundation. The project offers auditing and evaluation (on a cost-share basis) of a food processor’s entire operation.

The preliminary results, with 10 companies having completed the audit and loss identification process, are nothing short of staggering. Mereweather says, on average, companies are realizing a $14 return for every dollar spent on process or protocol improvement.

See more about the project here. 

Through the program, companies amass not just cost savings, but receive a full environmental impact statement for what they’ve accomplished, expressed in CO2 reduction and meals saved, for example.

Given the incredible amount of potential savings, it’s surprising then that the project has not yet achieved its goal of auditing 50 Canadian companies. Mereweather is hopeful that through more awareness of the potential for food waste savings, more companies will sign on to the project.

Listen below to Cher Mereweather’s interview at the Public Trust Summit, held at Gatineau, Quebec, November 13th and 14th.


Lyndsey Smith

Lyndsey Smith is a field editor for RealAgriculture. A self-proclaimed agnerd, Lyndsey is passionate about all things farming but is especially thrilled by agronomy and livestock production.


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