Moisson Montreal reaping rewards of food recovery program
Two years after the program began, Moisson Montreal says its supermarket food recovery program is a big success.
More than 90 grocery stores in Montreal and on the South Shore now donate unsold food to the non-profit organization instead of throwing it away.
Since 2013, the supermarket recovery program has collected fresh produce, baked goods, prepared meals and meat that would have otherwise been thrown away.
Every major supermarket chain is involved, although they are all concerned about providing food that is still safe, and don't want to give anything that could people sick.
To that end store employees were trained in how to identify which food was suitable for donation, and food banks had to improve their infrastructure to make sure they could safely store the donations.
Julie Bourbonniere of the food bank says the program has been a success,
"855 tonnes of food is worth more than $8 million, so for the smaller and even the bigger organizations it's an important savings in their budget and with these savings they can offer better services," she said.
As an unexpected bonus, food banks are now receiving much more meat than ever before. It's now distributed to more than 70 community organizations.
"Historically it's always been an issue to get meat. It always was less than one per cent of the foodstuff we received," said Bourbonniere. Now, it makes up 40 per cent of all food donations.
Moisson Montreal says 71 organizations across Montreal now receive donated food from stores, and in the next two years hopes to quadruple the amount of food it receives from grocery stores, as more stores are training employees about how to spot food that's too far gone to be sold but can be donated.
"Obviously it's impossible to respond to all the demand right now and the supermarkets are aware of the needs," said Bourbonniere.
She also pointed out that Canadians still waste a large amount of food, with some estimates saying up to 40 per cent of food purchased in Canada is spoiled.
"I think there's a growing social consciousness about the problem of food waste," she said.