What I need you to know about food waste

November 7, 2023

A photo of vegetables spread together.

Nearly 30 people officially sit on Loblaw’s Food Waste Reduction Committee, with dozens more supporting the committee as it pursues a very important mandate – to develop the relationships, processes and reporting mechanisms required for Loblaw to send zero food waste to landfill by 2030.   

Unsurprisingly, our committee includes colleagues from every corner of our organization, including Operations, Supply Chain, Finance, Transportation and Logistics, Government Relations, Sustainability and Social Impact, Process and Data Management, and more. All this, to say nothing of the incredible work demonstrated by our store management teams who have leaned into this important priority in ways I’ve never experienced in my 30+ years working with our stores.  As the Chair of our Food Waste Reduction Committee, here's what I need you to know about our efforts:  

  • Food waste has many causes, Overproduction, inadequate transport, storage and processing infrastructure issues, supply chain inefficiencies, misunderstood expiration dates, to name but a few.   

  • Food waste has many consequences. Socially, food waste contributes to food insecurity and hunger. When good food goes uneaten, it makes the problem of food scarcity and inequality even worse. Economically, when food goes to waste, so too do all of the resources used in its production. Environmentally, when food ends up in landfill, it decomposes and produces methane gas – an especially potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.  

  • We’re using common sense to prevent good food from going to waste. To achieve this goal, all of our stores have partnerships with a local food bank or recovery agency, which helps ensure good food gets to those that need it most. We also partner with Flashfood, which makes food nearing its expiry date available to consumers at great discounts.  

  • Through innovation, even reasonable food waste gets a home. Running our grocery stores inevitably generates food waste that is no longer fit for human consumption (think the waste from our bakeries, meat and seafood departments). To ensure even this food gets utilized in its entirety, we’re partnering with innovative companies like: ZooShare Biogas Ltd., which turns food waste into renewable energy; and Loop Resource Ltd., which turns food waste into animal feed. 

Throughout my career, I’ve been part of great teams and have worked on important strategic objectives. I can say this with sincerity and confidence: leading the work we are doing to prevent food waste is among my career highlights. I am proud to help ensure good food goes to good use. As I see it, this is a central way that I am helping Canadians live life well.  

- Jonathan Carroll, Chair, Loblaw Food Waste Reduction Committee