Rapid rise in food prices may help motivate consumers to reduce food waste, experts say


There's a song sung in the Vancouver home of Tara Moreau when she, her two daughters or her partner discard food rather than eat it.

Its refrain? "One-third of food is waste."

Moreau, a director with UBC's Botanical Garden, says while it's silly, it's a reminder of how serious wasting food actually is.

"It means that we can see it when we do waste food and acknowledge it," she said.

The Moreau family's song alludes to stark data that shows about a third of all food produced globally is lost or tossed annually. The waste has several consequences, including greenhouse gas emissions, as the food decomposes in landfills. As much as 10 per cent of global greenhouse emissions come from food waste.

In Metro Vancouver, where Moreau and her family live, organics make up 25 to 30 per cent of the garbage sent to landfills, depending on whether you live in a single or multi-family home.

Researchers, industry and politicians have been working to keep food out of landfills to help combat climate change and save money and resources. And now, inflation may be providing even more motivation to not waste food.

Canada's National Zero Waste Council says the average Canadian household throws out around 140 kilograms of food per year — with about 30 per cent of that being vegetables — worth more than $1,300.

"Some research says 50 per cent of Canadians don't realize how much money they can save by being more resourceful," said Richard Swannell, who has been working on food waste since 2005 and is an international director of the UK-based organization WRAP.