Second Harvest completes 2-year Food Loss and Waste Implementation Project, announces results

Jan 20, 2023

TORONTO,- Second Harvest has announced today the completion of its two-year Food Loss and Waste Implementation Project, funded by the Walmart Foundation. This extensive project included food loss and waste technical implementation support, change management and goal-setting consulting, and redistribution support for 20 large-scale Canadian companies in the food processing and manufacturing sector.

In total, this project in partnership with Anthesis and Enviro-Stewards, successfully prevented 3,109,433 kg/year of food loss and waste. An infographic summarizing the results of this project can be found here.

Although staffing shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges to some waste reduction implementation efforts, the project's food redistribution goal was still surpassed by 7%, directly rescuing 100,295 kg of surplus edible food.

In Canada, 58 per cent of food produced for Canadians is lost or wasted every year, of which 47 per cent, or 16.77 million metric tonnes, comes from processing and manufacturing. When this food ends up in landfill, it generates 56.5 million metric tonnes of CO2e emissions, contributing significantly to climate change. While this good, healthy food is lost, nearly 1 in 6 Canadian families face food insecurity and struggle to access nutrition and put food on the table.

"It's been an incredibly rewarding process to work with these companies in preventing food loss and waste. As a food rescue organization, we are laser-focused on ensuring no good food goes to waste, but prevention at source remains the most important tool to manage the global food and environmental crises we're facing," Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest said. "The work from this project has redirected a significant amount of food to non-profits and community food programs and represents exactly the kind of industry-wide collaboration on measurement, management and prevention that is needed."

"Second Harvest has helped identify sustainable solutions that have the potential to advance food loss and waste practices across the food industry," said Naomi Gunnell, director of's Healthier Food for All initiative. "We're excited about how this work demonstrates that philanthropy can catalyze cross-sector innovation to realize positive social, environmental and economic sustainability."

"It was one thing to identify and bring awareness of the food loss and waste problem to companies and the industry in Phase 1," said Cher Mereweather, Agri-Food Sector Lead at Anthesis North America. "To have the opportunity to go back and demonstrate the actual impact and support the companies with goal-setting and change management in Phase 2 was really powerful." 

"Enviro-Stewards was grateful for this opportunity to work with 20 food & beverage processing facilities to implement & verify the performance of food loss prevention measures that we identified during our original assessment work with the facilities," said Bruce Taylor, President of Enviro-Stewards Inc. "Even though the social, environmental, and economic benefits of prevention are very compelling, results are not harvested until the measures are actually implemented. It was a pleasure to work with each facility's team to implement the measures and enhance a culture of continuous improvement." 

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