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Wasted Opportunity

Rescuing Surplus Food in a Throwaway Culture

3.2 million

metric tonnes of surplus edible food produced by Canada’s food industry each year.


surplus edible food is NOT rescued nor redistributed for human consumption.


businesses are potential donors of surplus edible food within Canada’s food industry.

Only 4% of surplus edible food is rescued and redistributed. 

Wasted Opportunity (2022) is our third report in a series that began with The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste (2019), a roadmap showing how almost 9 million metric tonnes of food is lost or wasted by the industry each year. 

Our second report, Canada’s Invisible Food Network (2021), quantified the network of more than 61,000 charities and community groups across Canada that distribute food to people in need. 

In our third report Wasted Opportunity, we take a deeper dive into the food loss and waste in the food industry specifically. We look at types of surplus edible food, where it comes from and we provide solutions.

These unprecedented findings are the result of a year-long research project undertaken by Second Harvest and Value Chain Management International, a leading public and industry voice in food waste.



Canada’s food system wastes almost all of the surplus edible food it produces, when it could be rescued and redistributed to people experiencing hunger. Our research found only four per cent of the surplus edible food available is being rescued and redistributed, with the balance going to animal feed, anaerobic digestion or landfill where it creates methane gas and is a direct contributor to climate change.

Lori Nikkel
CEO, Second Harvest