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Empire exceeds food rescue goals, Sobeys named Second Harvest Partner of the Year

Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc. surpasses food rescue goal to donate 30 million meals annually in partnership with Second Harvest (CNW Group/Empire Company Limited)

Empire, along with its subsidiary, Sobeys, have surpassed its 2023 annual goal to divert 31 million pounds of surplus food annually from its operations to support local charities across Canada. 

Of that diverted food, 42 per cent was produced, 15 per cent was dairy foods, and bread was 11 per cent.

“Our food rescue program in partnership with Second Harvest has tremendous and tangible impact by directly providing fresh and healthy food to those in our communities who currently rely on non-profit food charities to meet their family’s grocery needs,” said Kristi Lalach, senior vice president of legal and sustainability of Empire. “In the three years since the partnership formed, we have been so proud to tackle surplus food to this scale — and every day, we are humbled by the enthusiasm of our food rescue ambassadors who make this possible in our stores.”

Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc. surpasses food rescue goal to donate 30 million meals annually in partnership with Second Harvest (CNW Group/Empire Company Limited)

In addition, Second Harvest has named Sobeys its Partner of the Year award for the second year to recognize the company’s commitment to rescuing edible food.

The Sobeys Retail Service Centre (RSC) in Whitby, Ont. was also awarded Second Harvest’s Food Defender award in recognition of its exceptional and continued support.

“Empire is an incredible partner that continues to have a massive impact in communities across the country. Every single year, Sobeys breaks new records for surplus food donations,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. “Their unwavering commitment and generosity in fighting food waste and food insecurity in Canada is inspiring, to say the least. Millions of Canadians have greater access to food because of their work, millions of pounds of greenhouse gas have been averted from entering the atmosphere and Second Harvest is extremely grateful for this partnership.”

In addition to directly addressing food insecurity in Canada, Empire’s food rescue program prevents 45.5 million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions from being released each year. 

All of Empire’s grocery banners, including Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA West, FreshCo and IGA Quebec, as well as its distribution centres and e-commerce business, Voilà, participate by identifying and diverting food suitable for donation. 

The company plans to reduce food waste in its national operations by 50 per cent by 2025, a statement reads.

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