Metro has launched a food recovery program with food bank Moisson Montreal that will involve 65 Montreal-area Metro and Super C stores by the fall.
The program will help recover of about one million kilograms of food per year, or the equivalent of 88,000 shopping carts.
About 40 community organizations will receive more than 10,000 kilos of food every week, allowing them to cook meals for redistribution to thousands of needy people on a weekly basis.
“There will always be food waste. The goal is to have as little as possible,” says Geneviève Grégoire, Metro’s communication advisor. “The first option is to give it away when it can still be used.” Next comes composting programs and the least desirable option is to throw food out.
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Twenty-three Metro and Super C store will by participating in the program by the end of this week. Store employees are given a one-hour training program from Moisson Montréal before the program can begin in each store.
Meat, baked goods, ready-to-eat meals prepared in-store and cheese are among the foods that are being given away. All food must be freezable, leaving out fruits and vegetables.
Meat is the most sought-after item on the list by food banks, according to Dany Michaud, executive director of Moisson Montréal.
Metro is giving away food that has reached or is about to reach its best before date. The food is put on freezers and is collected by Moisson Montréal twice weekly in refrigerated trucks.
The aim is to extend the project to all stores in Quebec if possible, depending on Moisson’s ability in the various regions to pick up food, Grégoire says.
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Last September Metro carried out a pilot project in 11 stores in the greater Montreal area with the organization La Tablée des Chefs (The Chef Table) that resulted in the recovery of 165 kilos of food (550 servings) per store, per week.
In the pilot program, stickers were placed on food destined to be given away, but the food is now being put in plastic recycling bins before it goes in freezers.
“The pilot showed that it was something we wanted to pursue,” Grégoire says. Metro decided to expand the food recovery program with Moisson Montréal because of the organization’s presence throughout the province and strong contact with community groups.