Statistics About Food Waste in Canada

food waste in canada

Food waste in Canada presents a multifaceted challenge, with statistics revealing staggering figures that demand attention. The sheer scale of food waste, especially at the household level, underscores the urgency of addressing this issue.

Delving into the nuances of avoidable waste and its implications offers a glimpse into potential solutions and the impact of individual actions. As we explore the common forms of food waste and the broader environmental consequences, it becomes evident that a deeper understanding is crucial.

Stay tuned to uncover the Canadian initiatives and societal concerns intertwined with this pressing matter.

Key Takeaways

  • Canadians waste 396 kg of food per person annually.
  • 47% of food waste in Canada originates from households.
  • Over 60% of household food waste is avoidable.
  • Canadian households waste an average of 140 kg of food yearly.

Scale of Food Waste in Canada

The scale of food waste in Canada is staggering, with Canadians discarding significant quantities of essential food items on a daily basis. Daily food waste includes 450,000 eggs, 1 million cups of milk, and 2,400,000 potatoes. The average Canadian household contributes to this alarming statistic by wasting around 140 kg of food annually.

In monetary terms, the total annual cost of wasted food in Canada amounts to a substantial $20 billion. This wastage breakdown reveals that 30% of discarded food is vegetables, 15% fruits, 13% leftovers, 9% bread, 7% eggs and dairy, and 6% meat.

Further magnifying the issue, daily food waste in Canada consists of items like 130,000 heads of lettuce, 1,300,000 tomatoes, 650,000 loaves of bread, 1,300,000 apples, 640,000 bananas, 1,000,000 cups of milk, and 470,000 eggs. These statistics underscore the urgent need for proactive measures to combat food waste in Canada.

Household Food Waste Statistics

Household food waste in Canada has significant implications, with 47% of all food waste originating from homes.

To address this issue, strategies to reduce household waste are crucial, especially considering that over 60% of this waste is avoidable.

The economic costs of household food waste are staggering, costing Canadian households over $1,300 annually.

Impact of Household Waste

With millions of kilograms of food wasted annually by Canadian households, the economic and environmental impacts of this behavior are staggering. Canadian households waste an average of 140 kilograms of food per year, amounting to over $1,300 in losses annually.

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Shockingly, approximately 63% of the discarded food is still edible. The sheer scale of household food waste in Canada is alarming, totaling 2.3 million tonnes annually, which is equivalent to the emissions from 2.1 million cars. Moreover, the financial implications are substantial, with the cost of wasted edible food surpassing $20 billion each year.

The top wasted food items include vegetables (30%), fruit (15%), leftovers (13%), bread and bakery products (9%), and dairy and eggs (7%).

Strategies to Reduce

Implementing effective strategies to reduce food waste at the household level is crucial in addressing the significant economic and environmental impacts of this pervasive issue in Canada. To combat this problem, individuals can take the following steps:

  • Meal Planning: Plan meals in advance to buy only what is needed.
  • Proper Storage: Store food correctly to prolong its freshness.
  • Creative Cooking: Repurpose leftovers into new dishes to avoid discarding them.
  • Composting: Utilize food scraps for composting to reduce waste sent to landfills.

These simple yet impactful strategies can help reduce the staggering amount of food wasted in Canadian households, leading to a more sustainable future.

Economic Costs Involved

The economic ramifications of food waste in Canadian households are substantial, with an average of 140 kilograms of food wasted per year, resulting in an annual cost exceeding $1,300. Household food waste in Canada amounts to 2.3 million tonnes of edible food annually, with a total cost exceeding $20 billion.

The economic impact of avoidable household food waste in Canada is estimated at $1,766 per household each year. On a daily basis, Canadians waste 450,000 eggs, 1 million cups of milk, and 2,400,000 potatoes, contributing to the significant economic costs of food waste.

The total annual cost of wasted food in Canada is a staggering $20 billion, highlighting the financial burden associated with food waste at the household level.

Avoidable Food Waste Insights

Avoidable food waste in Canadian households has a significant environmental impact, with over 60% of this waste being preventable. The consequences of this wastage extend to emitting 2.1 million cars' worth of CO2 annually.

Understanding the causes of this avoidable food waste is crucial in mitigating its effects on both household finances and the environment.

Causes of Wastage

Surplus food bought on sale and discarded near or past its best-before date are significant contributors to avoidable food waste in Canada. This issue is exacerbated by consumers who overlook perfectly edible food items due to cosmetic imperfections or arbitrary expiry dates.

Additionally, produce left to spoil in fields due to labor shortages or low market prices further adds to the problem. The heartbreaking sight of thousands of acres of perfectly good fruits and vegetables being plowed under because of cancelled orders highlights the inefficiencies in the food supply chain.

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Furthermore, the practice of discarding fish that do not meet quotas back into the water is not just a waste of food but also a disregard for the ecosystem's balance.

Impact on Environment

Incurring significant environmental consequences, food waste in Canada poses a pressing challenge that demands immediate attention and action. The 2.3 million tonnes of avoidable household food waste in Canada result in 6.9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the emissions of 2.1 million cars.

Each tonne of avoided food waste is comparable to removing one car from the road in terms of emissions. This waste significantly contributes to Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions, emphasizing the critical role of preventing food waste in reducing environmental impact and combating climate change.

Addressing food waste not only conserves valuable resources but also plays a vital role in mitigating the harmful effects of excess greenhouse gas emissions on the environment.

Common Forms of Food Waste

In Canadian households, various forms of food waste are prevalent, with fruits and vegetables constituting a significant portion of the discarded food items. This wastage not only represents a loss of resources but also has significant implications for the environment and economy.

Here are some common forms of food waste in Canada:

  1. Fruits and Vegetables: Accounting for 30% of household food waste, these nutritious items are often thrown away before being fully utilized.
  2. Leftovers: Making up 13% of total food waste, leftovers being discarded indicate over-preparation or improper storage.
  3. Bread and Bakery Products: Contributing to 9% of wasted food, these items are often disposed of due to staleness or mould growth.
  4. Dairy and Eggs: Representing 7% of food waste, these perishable products are frequently wasted due to improper storage or expiration.

These statistics highlight the need for increased awareness and efforts to reduce food waste at the consumer level.

Environmental Impact of Food Waste

Food waste in Canada poses a significant environmental threat due to its substantial contribution to carbon emissions and methane production. Annually, food waste in Canada generates 56.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. When food rots in landfills, it releases methane, a gas 25 times stronger than CO2 in contributing to global warming.

Preventing food waste is crucial for reducing the environmental impact and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Each tonne of avoided food waste is equivalent to removing one car from the road in terms of emissions. By reducing food waste, we can benefit the environment by lowering methane emissions and combatting global warming.

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It is essential for individuals, businesses, and policymakers to work together to implement strategies that reduce food waste and mitigate its harmful effects on the environment. Taking action to minimize food waste not only preserves valuable resources but also plays a significant role in protecting the planet for future generations.

Canadian Pledge to Reduce Waste

Canada has undertaken a national commitment to halve its food waste in an effort to address the significant issue of wastage within the country. This pledge signifies a crucial step towards reducing avoidable household food waste and its associated environmental impact.

The commitment aims to alleviate the financial burden placed on Canadian households due to food waste, which currently costs them over $1,300 annually. Various organizations and initiatives are actively working towards achieving this reduction target, emphasizing the importance of collective action in combating food waste.

Food Insecurity Concerns

Amidst the national commitment to halve food waste in Canada, the pressing issue of food insecurity raises significant concerns, particularly affecting vulnerable populations within the country.

In 2018, one in eight households in Canada experienced food insecurity, highlighting a pervasive problem that impacts over 1.2 million children in the country.

The territories in Canada, especially Nunavut, bear the highest prevalence of food insecurity, with alarming statistics showing that 78.7% of children in Nunavut live in food-insecure households.

Furthermore, single-parent families, particularly those led by a female parent, are disproportionately affected by food insecurity in Canada, facing challenges in accessing an adequate and consistent food supply.

These statistics underscore the urgent need for targeted interventions and support systems to address food insecurity and ensure that all Canadians have access to nutritious food to lead healthy lives.


In conclusion, the statistics surrounding food waste in Canada reveal a significant issue that requires urgent attention. With over 60% of household food waste being avoidable, there is a clear need for increased awareness and education on reducing waste.

By implementing strategies such as proper meal planning and using up leftovers, Canadians can make a positive impact on both the environment and their finances. It is crucial for individuals to take action to minimize food waste and contribute to a more sustainable future.