Every year, Canada wastes $31 billion worth of food, much of which is retail fruits and vegetables that are just not pretty enough for picky consumers.
Photo via Flickr user Walmart
Every year, Canada wastes more than $30 billion worth of food, a big chunk of which consists of food retailers throwing out perfectly edible food which is either close to expiring or simply not pretty enough for picky consumers.
As Walmart shrewdly gobbles up competing grocers north of the border, it's hardly surprising that food waste has taken a back seat to market share for huge food retailers.
A recent investigation by the CBC's Marketplace team found that Walmart stores are pretty liberal when it comes time to take out the trash, with fresh produce, frozen food, meat, and dairy being chucked before they've even reached their sell-by date.
But thanks to the hard work of the fourth estate, Walmart is finally doing something about it, or so they say.
"If we're putting food that's good to eat in the wrong bin, then that's a mistake we need to correct," Walmart spokesperson Alex Roberton told Marketplace. "And that's one of the areas that we need to focus on improving... We need to be more certain that that is food that needs to be thrown out."
To be fair, Walmart does donate some of its food to shelters, and has given millions of dollars to Food Banks Canada so they can accommodate and refrigerate such huge quantities of food. Also, this problem goes way beyond Walmart; the UN estimates that every year, some 1.3 billion tonnes of perfectly edible food gets lost or wasted around the world, a quarter of which could feed 870 million hungry people across the globe.
Countries like France are now forcing supermarkets to donate unsold food to shelters and food banks, and Canadian Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay told Marketplace that Canada may soon follow suit.
In the meantime, it might be wise for Canadians to eat a few bruised apples and pears and not to not be too strict with their sell-by dates.