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British anti-food waste program coming to Canada

Metro Vancouver takes on Love Food Hate Waste; aims to get grocers involved

Great Britain’s much-heralded anti-food waste campaign, “Love Food Hate Waste” is coming to Canada.

Metro Vancouver has inked a deal with the marketing campaign’s U.K. organizers, WRAP (Waste and Resource Action Program), to bring the program to the Vancouver area.

Metro Vancouver, which comprises the city of Vancouver plus 23 surrounding municipalities, plans to license Love Food Hate Waste as part of a new effort to get Vancouverites to throw out less edible food.

Love Food Hate Waste was launched in the U.K. by WRAP seven years ago. As of 2012, U.K. food waste had been reduced by 15% and avoidable food waste was chopped 21%

It’s estimated that Canadian consumers throw out just over half (51%) of the $27 billion in food wasted in Canada each year. Industries, from farmers to retailers to manufacturers, are responsible for the remainder.

David Hocking, communications division manager for Metro Vancouver, said the municipality’s goal is to reduce garbage 10% per capita by 2020.

Hitting that target won’t be possible without a dent in food waste, he said, noting that some 35% of Vancouver’s garbage is organic matter.

“We want to find ways to reduce the amount of perfectly good food being wasted,” Hocking told Canadian Grocer.

Metro Vancouver hopes to launch Love Food Hate Waste next spring.

Meanwhile, it plans to study food waste by looking at everything from what types of food people toss the most, to how much food is poured down kitchen sinks–a problem that hasn’t gotten much attention to date.

“It affects our sewage waste systems,” Hocking said.

He added that Metro Vancouver is hoping to get grocers in Vancouver on board to help promote the anti food waste message to consumers.

Supermarket involvement has been a key part of Love Food Hate Waste in the U.K., says Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP.

In an interview with Canadian Grocer, Swannell, said major British grocers such as Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and the Co-operative are backing the group’s anti-food waste message.

Asda, for instance, has put up Love Food Hate Waste ads in its stores and Sainsbury’s did a TV campaign that encouraged consumers to use their leftovers. The tag line: “Love your leftovers.”

WRAP is a non-profit backed with funding from the governments of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The organization started 14 years ago to lead recycling initiatives but soon added tackling waste to its mandate.

On food waste, WRAP has educated consumers on proper food storage, best before dates, using their freezers to keep food, and how to use leftovers.

A Love Food Hate Waste app lets consumers plan meals and portions, keep track of what ingredients they have in their cupboards, plus provides recipes for making meals using whatever ingredients happen to be available in the kitchen.

“We’re trying to get people into the habit of using leftovers,” Swannell said.

Metro Vancouver is the second government outside the U.K. to agree to use Love Food Hate Waste. New South Wales in Australia also licenses the campaign.

See one of Great Britain's promotional videos for Love Food Hate Waste below:

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