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Industry News96% of Canada’s surplus edible food goes to waste: Second Harvest report

96% of Canada’s surplus edible food goes to waste: Second Harvest report


Second Harvest has released new research examining the amount of surplus edible food that is produced and wasted in Canada each year by Canada’s food system. Conducted in partnership with Value Chain Management International, the new report, Wasted Opportunity, found that 96 per cent of surplus edible food in Canada’s food system is wasted instead of being rescued and donated to feed those in need.

Featuring research into Canada’s food system, Wasted Opportunity explores what types of food—and from where—end up in landfills and seeks to explain why so much of this surplus edible food is not being rescued. The report proposes solutions for business and policymakers to turn this edible food waste into opportunity for everyone involved. 

This research is the first in Canada to quantify:

  • The 3.2 million tonnes of surplus edible food produced by Canada’s food industry each year
  • The 96 percent of surplus edible food that is NOT rescued and redistributed for human consumption
  • The 127,177 businesses that are potential donors of surplus edible food within Canada’s food industry
  • The 45 percent of these businesses that believe they have surplus edible food
  • The regions that are more likely to have surplus edible food 
  • The industry sectors that say they have surplus edible food, and the percentage that each sector donates
  • The types of surplus edible food produced in Canada’s food industry
  • The extent to which businesses DO NOT measure and monitor surplus edible food, and the reasons why

Wasted Opportunity is Second Harvest’s third report in a series that began with The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste (2019), a roadmap showing how almost nine million metric tonnes of food produced for Canadians is lost or wasted every year. The second report, Canada’s Invisible Food Network (2021), was the first report to reveal the massive, invisible patchwork of over 61,000 community organizations that distribute food to people in need. All three Second Harvest reports can be downloaded from

In its release, Second Harvest expressed thanks to the Walmart Foundation for its continued support in providing the necessary funding for this study.

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