A new report from the United Nations estimates that 17 per
cent of the food produced globally each year is wasted. That amounts to
931 million tonns.
The waste is far more than previous reports had indicated, though direct comparisons are difficult because of differing methodologies and the lack of strong data from many countries, the report said.
Canada was among 17 countries deemed to have high-quality data.
The report found that the average Canadian wastes 79 kilograms of food a year at home, more than the average American at 59 kg and similar to the amount wasted by the average person in the United Kingdom at 77 kg.
"Improved measurement can lead to improved management," said Brian Roe, a food waste researcher at Ohio State University who was not involved in the report.
In November, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a $20-million food waste reduction challenge and invited Canadians to submit proposals.
In mid-February she said 343 applications were submitted for the first of two sections of the challenge. The second will open to applications this spring.
She also said Canada is committed to the United Nation’s goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030.
She estimated Canada wastes about half of the food produced and put that loss at $49.5 billion.