Save-on Foods along with the Friends in Need Food Bank are working to ensure good food that used to get tossed in the garbage, is no longer wasted.
Both were at the Maple Ridge Save-On Foods Friday announcing a major expansion of their food waste reduction efforts, where Save-On announced it’s reduced its food waste to zero in several stores.
“Feeding families, not landfills, is our number one priority,” said Save-On Foods president Darrell Jones.
Friends In Need recently opened a refrigerated food hub or distribution centre in downtown Maple Ridge. That will allow the society to expand its collection of perishable food such as meats, dairy, veggies or fruit daily to all four Save-On locations in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
Jones said the company has already surpassed its new year’s goal of cutting its food waste in half by 2025. The company achieved that goal within six months.
Currently, more than half of Save-on Foods stores, 86 of them, are now diverting 100 per cent of their perishable, non-saleable food.
By the end of the year, another 35 stores will be food waste free, said a news release.
Jones said Save-On started the program with one store in 2018, then set up three pilot projects.
He added that he’s confident the program will work across Canada. “We have created a process that can track and measure surplus food and how it’s put to better and higher uses.”
An app developed by Vancouver tech company FoodMesh that simplifies and streamlines the redistribution of surplus food.
While safe food goes to food banks, food that’s no longer for human consumption will go to farms for animal feed and compost.
Until now, the food bank recovered perishable food from Meridian Farm Market, Thrifty Foods and Shoppers Drug Mart.
At the food bank distribution centre, food then will be sorted and added into the hundreds of food hampers the food bank gives out in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows every month. The distribution centre also serves the Mission Save-On.
Food Banks BC executive director Laura Lansink said that Save-On Foods has been a “game changer” for food banks. “Now, fresh healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry and dairy are made available to every person at risk of hunger rather than ending up as waste.”