Second Harvest, Canada, is working with Value Chain Management International (VCMI), Canada, on a ground-breaking food loss and waste (FLW) project, funded by The Walmart Foundation, Bentonville, Ark. The project, what is said to be a world first, is researching FLW from a whole of Canadian chain perspective – from primary production to consumer.

The project encompasses Canada's food and beverage industry (including fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, grains and oilseeds, sugars and syrups, beverages and seafood). The purpose of the study is to establish a framework and metrics that businesses operating in the farming, processing, retail and foodservice sectors can use to 1) understand where losses are likely to occur and 2) identify ways to improve their performance and profitability by reducing losses and waste. The team will collect data for an accurate estimate of FLW occurring at discrete points along the value chain and evaluating the comparative impact of root causes. The project will also estimate losses that occur during the redistribution of rescued and donated food, for example in foodbanks. 

Key outcomes of the project:


It will calculate the total amount of food available for human consumption in Canada.


Through conducting pioneering primary research, it will identify where, how and why waste occurs along the chain.


It will identify potential root-cause solutions to reduce the percentage of Canadian food sent to landfill – by proposing improved redistribution, reuse and recycling practices.


It will identify greater opportunities for food to be recovered and distributed to people who are food insecure.


It will culminate in the production and dissemination of a manual of scalable and sustainable solutions for addressing and preventing food waste.

Second Harvest and VCMI are targeting 800-1,000 respondents from across the entire value chain to gain insights from farmers, food and beverage processors, retailers, foodservice operators, institutions and food redistributors across Canada (regardless of their size). The project will be completed by the end of 2018.

"We are thrilled to be working with Second Harvest on this revolutionary food loss and waste project," says Martin Gooch, chief executive officer of VCMI. "Prior studies relied on existing data, largely not gathered for calculating food loss and waste; we are collecting and analyzing data that will achieve this. The project outcomes will have important implications for businesses, industry, researchers and government."