The Canadian Grocery Industry Tackles Food Waste & Hunger

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Community, Food Waste, Hunger Relief

Canada is home to more than 15,000 grocery stores that employ nearly 400,000 Canadians. As the cornerstone to every community—large and small—the grocery and food industry is an essential service and integral part of our society. 

During the pandemic, grocery, manufacturing, supplier, and distribution employees worked tirelessly to keep Canadians across the country fed with healthy, nourishing food. They were diligent to try to keep everyone safe and socially distanced while keeping shelves stocked.

To honour them, July 19, 2021 is Grocery Heroes Day.  

Recognizing Frontline Workers with Grocery Heroes Day

Grocery Heroes Day commemorates the hard work that workers in the grocery industry have done to help feed Canadian families during COVID-19. 

As Canada’s largest food rescue organization, Second Harvest is proud to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding work that our grocery partners and their frontline workers have done throughout the pandemic. They have helped put food on the tables of millions of Canadians during an unprecedented time, despite supply chain disruptions and added health and safety precautions.

Thank you to all of those working in the grocery and food industry. 

How Grocery Stores are Addressing Food Waste and Hunger

In the face of the pandemic, our grocery partners went above and beyond by helping Second Harvest to divert food waste at the retail level and help feed some of the 1 in 7 food-insecure Canadians.

Second Harvest’s Food Rescue App is a tool that grocery stores across Canada, including our partners Loblaws and the Empire group of stores, use as part of their sustainability strategy. Retailers of any size can use the free app to manage their surplus food and help keep it from being wasted—and feed those community members in need. 

Learn more about the food rescue app. 

Thank You, Grocery Industry Frontline Workers

Grocery Heroes Day is a great time to celebrate the frontline staff at grocery stores who are not only doing vital work for the community members they see in-store, they’re also working behind the scenes to rescue their stores’ unsold food and donate it to non-profits in their communities. As we commemorate the first-ever Grocery Heroes Day, we asked staff at just two out of the hundreds of grocery stores across Canada that rescue and donate food why they do what they do.

Samantha is the assistant store manager at Sobeys Meadowbrook in Edmonton, AB, which has been using the Second Harvest food rescue app since May 13. She is involved in the Sobeys Food Rescue Champion committee which is a group of eight very involved Sobeys store employees who promote the Food Rescue program and help enhance it. 

“I feel a responsibility to try to help feed as many people as I can, and the Second Harvest app has given me the opportunity to do that through day to day business at a job I love,” says Samantha. 

The Meadowbrook store donates twice a week to The Guiding Light Women Empowerment Society. Chinwendu Deborah from Guiding Light is picking up a car full of rescued healthy food donations.

“Making connections and building relationships in our community is incredibly important to us. The Second Harvest program has allowed us to further our relationship with our community partners and help to create positive change for those facing food insecurity.”

The staff at Hardy’s YIG with some of the healthy food donations that will be shared with their neighbours in Devon, AB.

“We love working with Second Harvest!” says Susan Hardy, franchisee of Hardy’s YIG in Devon, AB. 

“For us, it can be hard to find the time to get out and donate our extra food and divert food from the landfill. We have been looking for ways to do this, and we could not find alternatives. Second Harvest has given us the help we needed to be able to accomplish this.” 

“They have made the process so easy for us! We just go onto the website and insert what we have to donate and the rest is basically done for us. We are now able to support our community and donate all our extra food, allowing us to both give back and create less waste.” 

Thank you to all of you!

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