Second Harvest and agri-food consultancy VCMI to research food loss and waste

02 July 2018 3 min. read

Agri-food consultancy Value Chain Management International (VCMI) is teaming up with Toronto food rescue organization Second Harvest on a research project examining food loss and waste (FLW) in Canada. Examining the whole food value chain, the study will produce a framework to help producers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers address and reduce FLW.

Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food made for human consumption is wasted worldwide. In Canada, the monetary value of lost or wasted food amounts to $31 billion, with 40% wasted at the retail or consumer levels. Meanwhile, one in eight Canadian families experience food insecurity.

Second Harvest aims to alleviate the problems of food waste and food insecurity by connecting excess food with hungry people. Since 1985, the organization has been rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste, and delivering that food to social service agencies in Toronto and Ontario. Second Harvest collects food from over 470 donors – including restaurants, grocery stores, and food manufacturers and distributors – and delivers that food to 253 social service agencies in Toronto and Ontario, providing the equivalent of 30,000 meals a day.

Now, Second Harvest will be working with Value Chain Management International (VCMI) on a food loss and waste (FLW) research project that examines FLW throughout the whole Canadian value chain – from production to consumer. The project is being funded by The Walmart Foundation.Second Harvest and agri-food consultancy VCMI to research food loss and wasteFounded in 2013, VCMI is an agri-food management consulting firm with particular expertise in food waste reduction solutions. VCMI support clients by applying specialized value chain diagnostic tools to identify and help eliminate food waste. The consultancy also oversees the implementation of best practices to solve issues and bring about successful outcomes. Headquartered in Oakville, the firm also has a further presence in Europe and Australasia.

The joint research project will encompass the Canadian food and beverage industry, including meat, seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetables, grains and oilseeds, sugars and syrups, and beverages. The study will build a framework that helps food business understand where losses happen, and identify how to reduce losses and waste. To achieve this, the team will collect data at various points of the food value chain and evaluate the comparative impact of root causes of food loss and waste.

In addition, the project will also estimate food losses that occur in food redistribution, e.g. at a food bank. It will also identify greater opportunities for food recovery for distribution to the food insecure.

"We are thrilled to be working with Second Harvest on this revolutionary food loss and waste project," commented Martin Gooch, CEO of VCMI. "Prior studies relied on existing data, largely not gathered for calculating food loss and waste; we are collecting and analyzing data that will achieve this. The project outcomes will have important implications for businesses, industry, researchers, and government."

The project is set to conclude in December of this year, with the dissemination of the aforementioned framework for addressing and reducing food loss and waste.