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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.



Rhema Christian Ministries has benefited significantly with the food received from Second Harvest, especially during this pandemic time. Our clients are appreciative of the variety of food.   Thank you, Second Harvest!  Rhema Food Bank could not feed the communities without your support.

Grace Williams
Rhema Christian Ministries 

No waste, no hunger means continuing to grow our business sustainably while ensuring that our finished goods and the raw products that we use always sustain our communities and never become waste. Second Harvest supports our objective to continue to bring people together and unite them towards planet-friendly food.

Audrey Leduc
McCain Foods

Our “pay what you can” meal program to combat COVID-19 food security issues in Brandon, MB was made possible because of Second Harvest. They have regularly gone out of their way to ensure we have a steady stream of groceries to produce 600 nutritious tasty meals weekly since June 2020. loves Second Harvest.

Ross Robinson
The John Howard Society of Brandon, Inc.

The Second Harvest Food Rescue App makes it so easy to give back to the community. Our restaurants and their teams love participating in something so impactful. Thanks to Second Harvest for helping us on our mission to always do what is right for our communities, environment and staff.

Sammi Silverman
A&W Canada