Government announces Food Waste Reduction Challenge to curb $50 billion in annual losses

Canadians waste more than 11 million metric tonnes of food every year — worth nearly $50 billion. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau highlighted a $26.3 million program recently launched through the Food Policy for Canada to reduce food waste.

“Food loss and waste is an important issue – one that, if addressed, would help save consumers money, contribute to food security, improve the efficiency of the agriculture and food sector, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.

Next year, the government will launch the Food Waste Reduction Challenge which comes with a $20 million price tag. The challenge will push people to innovate and create food waste reduction proposals in key areas such as the food processing, grocery retail, and food service sectors. According to a news release, the government will lead by example of cutting its food waste in federal facilities, with a price tag of $6.3 million.

Through the Food Policy for Canada, other new initiatives announced were:

  • A local Food Infrastructure Fund designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food;
  • A new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
  • Support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
    new funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud – the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products – to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition;
  • Taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program; and
  • The creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the food challenges of today, as well as the future of Canada’s food system.

According to a news release, the Food Policy for Canada will also help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems.

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