Closing the loop on Canada's National Food Policy: A food waste agenda
In the near future, Canada will be implementing a national food policy; in doing so, it will be joining a growing number of countries with policies and strategies that address the growing problem of food waste. Food waste is a major economic drain estimated to cost Canada $31 billion dollars annually or $107 billion in true cost, when the costs of wasted water, energy, and resources are included (Gooch & Felfel, 2014). Despite the staggering cost, there is currently a limited number of scholars tackling the issue of food waste in Canada (Abdulla, Martin, Gooch, & Jovel, 2013; MacRae et al., 2016; Parizeau, von Massow, & Martin, 2015). Some of the leading think tanks and research institutions, such as the World Resources Institute (WRI), National Defence Research Council (NRDC), as well as inter-sectoral collaboratives such as Canada’s National Zero Waste Council (NZWC) have identified several priorities to address food waste. Key priorities include, but are not limited to: 1) education and awareness; 2) harmonizing food waste quantification through waste audits and establishing reduction targets; 3) addressing confusion over “best before” labels; 4) incentivizing surplus food donation; and 5) landfill bans on food waste. While these priorities are currently being debated and consulted upon in Canada, several countries around the world have already reached the implementation stage. Canada is therefore in a position to learn from the impacts of policies in other countries with a view to developing a more sustainable, systematic, and just approach to food waste prevention and reduction in Canada.