Hunger Facts

While we don't have all the answers or solutions to hunger relief, here are some facts to help you stay informed:


  • World-wide, one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, most of it before it ever reaches consumers. That's about 1.3 billion tonnes per year.
  • In developed countries, like Canada, more than 40% of food losses occur at retail and consumer levels.
  • About 222 million tonnes of food are wasted per year at the consumer level in developed countries—that's almost as much as the total net food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes per year).

*According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Statistical Yearbook 2012 and FAO Global Food Losses and Food Waste 2011 report.

Food waste in Canada:

  • Canadians waste $31 billion of food every year, 47% wasted in the home*.
  • The primary contributor to consumer food waste is high expectations—demand for high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing food is a key factor behind the volume of food waste occurring among consumers.*
  • In North America, over 30 percent of fruits and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they aren't attractive enough for consumers.

*According to the Cut Waste, Grow Profit 2014 report.

Food insecurity and health*:

  • Nutrition and food security are among the top 4 social indicators of health in Canada, with limited access to nutritious, affordable food linked to poor health.

*According to the Canadian Medical Association's What Makes Us Sick? 2013 report.

Food insecurity in Canada*:

  • 1 in 8 Canadian families struggle to put food on the table.
  • 32% of the people requiring food assistance are children.**
  • 25% of food bank users are immigrants.**
  • 16% of people in need of food assistance have income from recent or current employment.*
  • 79,000 people each month access a food bank for the first time.*
  • Almost 40% of food bank clients have a diploma, degree or higher.**
  • On average, people in the city core who use food assistance programs do so for two years.**

*According to Food Banks Canada's HungerCount 2015 report.
**According to Daily Bread Food Bank's Who's Hungry 2015 report.

About Second Harvest*:

  • Almost 40% of Second Harvest food recipients are children/youth.
  • Half of the social service agencies we deliver food to expect to see an increase in demand for their food programs over the coming year. Of those, the average predicted increase is a 40% jump.

*According to Second Harvest surveys taken with our partner agencies.