Food Waste is Non-Stop

Figure 3.3: Wasted product at a Starbucks location.
Figure: A Canadian bread tag with date. Photo credit: Shakailah Allison
Figure: A Canadian bread tag with date. Photo credit: Shakailah Allison
Figure 1.3: Starbuck signs of their menu.
Figure 1.3: Starbuck signs of their menu.
Figure 2.3: Wasted product in a Starbucks location.
Figure 2.3: Wasted product in a Starbucks location.
Figure 3.3: Wasted product at a Starbucks location.
Figure 3.3: Wasted product at a Starbucks location.

Can we stop being a consumerist culture?

By: Dee Guttman

“People seem to not be interested in stopping the consumerism, this is how we are as people,” said Romashkin in his home due to COVID-19. Ronald Romashkin is a Digital Media Artist who says, “Food waste is inevitable because food dies quickly, so we must regrow it three hundred times more than it wastes (Figure 2.3). It’s the aspect of supply and demand. People demand immediate satisfaction in hunger, so grocery stores overstock, while some businesses offer products that are sold in large quantities like an all-you-can-eat (Figure 1.3) dinner event and this, allows more businesses to throw a majority of it away." It’s statistically true, businesses will regularly throw out a large portion of food each day. Food Resources Manager, Shellee Fitzgerald says that the ugly truth is that “—roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption—never gets eaten. Around the globe, this amounts to about $1 trillion worth of food that gets tossed each year.” (Figure 3.3).

Photo credits: Dee Guttman

In the Store, Out the Door

By: Shakailah Allison

When we go into a grocery store, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘what do we need at home?’ There are 5,460 grocery stores in Ontario, Canada and companies like Loblaw’s bring in $50.3 billion in sales. If consumers are only buying what they need, then where does all the other food go? Expired food like cans and other non-perishable goods in grocery stores goes into the garbage and the produce products as well. Most produce requires refrigeration but not all grocery stores have the space to store all those foods. Most fruits like cherries, avocados and tomatoes should be refrigerated or they will ripen and go bad. For vegetables, carrots, potatoes and celery should also be stored in the fridge, but for a retailer, it now comes down to which product is more important. With the lack of space, grocery stores now have to be selective in which products to keep refrigerated and the rest will have to stay on the store floor. This increases ripening time and decreases the shelf life of the fruit or vegetable (Figure 1.1). Stores will also throw away produce if it looks bad because it will not attract consumers to buy the item. Just because it doesn’t look good does not mean it isn’t edible. Grocery stores are trying to limit their food waste through discounting items and this in turn helps the revenue of the retailer. Companies like Loblaw's has teamed up with Flashfood in order to help reduce the amount of food waste the grocery chain has. This is just one-way food waste can be lessened at the grocery store level.

Photo credits: Shakailah Allison

The Road to the Shelf

By: Dee Guttman

The road for food to make it to the shelf is hard enough. Take for instance a strawberry, if it isn’t grown aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it will not get eaten. Due to any number of reasons, a strawberry may have a hard time getting bought. Now when we bring it to foods like apples, if there was only 1 apple left, you would think something was wrong, but if the shelf is full of apples, you are likely to buy out of impulse. “If it is stocked, it will be bought,” Adam Daniels says, a fast-food worker who personally enjoys the employee benefits of an expired food item (Figure 1.1). In most fast food industries, merchandise expires and needs to be thrown out in 24-48 hours. Items such as pastries have a limited shelf life and are discarded quickly. Adam Daniels goes on to say “I work in fast food, and I enjoy our food, so the food that is outdated, is up for grabs among the employees.”

Photo credits: Dee Guttman

Figure 1.2: Garbage outside of Adam's workplace.
Figure 1.2: Garbage outside of Adam's workplace.
Figure 2.2: Wasted food at Adam's workplace.
Figure 2.2: Wasted food at Adam's workplace.

Figure 1.1: This graph indicates the amount of food waste that a consumer does per year.

Figure 1.3: Map of Canada.
Figure 1.3: Map of Canada.

When will it Stop?

By: Shakailah Allison

Canadians have now lessened their food wastage from the previous year (Figure 1.2). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have decided to stay home and cook but also buy more food cause of that. Canada is still ranked 5th on the Food Sustainability Index (Figure 3.3) when it comes to food loss and waste. This is a big problem for Canada especially when it comes to money. According to the City of Toronto, households lose about $1,100 per year on wasted food alone (Figure 2.2). In the current times, that money could be used to pay bills. Canada’s federal deficit has now hit $148.6 billion and food waste each year contributes $17 billion a year. As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no real path showing how food waste can be reduced. Canadians need to continue to reduce, reuse and recycle and hopefully it will gain more traction and benefit the years to come.

Photo credits: Shakailah Allison

Figure 2.3: A Canadian $5 bill.
Figure 2.3: A Canadian $5 bill.
Figure 3.3: The Food Sustainability Index.
Figure 3.3: The Food Sustainability Index.

Food Waste with Dee Guttman

By: Dee Guttman

Dee Guttman sits down with environmentalist Lulu Kit, as they discuss some topics of food waste.

Video credits: Dee Guttman

Food Waste in Households Radio Story

By: Shakailah Allison

Take a listen to this quick radio story in which I discuss food waste in your home.

Audio credits: Shakailah Allison

Authors

Dee Guttman

They/Them

"Can we stop being a consumerist culture?"

"The Road to the Shelf"

"Food Waste with Dee Guttman"

Shakailah Allison

She/her

"In the Store, Out the Door"

"When will it Stop?

"Food Waste in Households"

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