Empire, Second Harvest form tasty partnership

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Empire and Second Harvest have formed a national partnership to implement the Second Harvest Food Rescue App.

The goal is diverting 14.1 million kilograms of food and approximately 41 million kilograms of GHG emissions annually.

Second Harvest’s food rescue app will enable Empire’s major banner stores – Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods and Voilà, plus warehouses – to divert food waste and offer even more access to fresh, healthy food to families in need.

“The number of Canadians experiencing food insecurity has significantly increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the need for access to healthy food has never been greater,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO, Second Harvest, via a press release. “Our food rescue app enables businesses with surplus perishable food to quickly and easily connect with non-profits who serve people in need. This partnership will support our communities’ most vulnerable and reduce food waste. We are proud to partner with Empire to further our shared mission to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of food waste and support local communities across Canada through this terrible health crisis.” 

The press release says Empire plans to implement the app in its grocery banners over the next 18 months. Empire will use the app in its distribution centres and its e-commerce business. Once operational in all of these locations, Empire expects to rescue an estimated 14.1 million kilograms (31 million pounds) of food, and thereby avert approximately 41 million kilograms of GHG emissions annually – the equivalent of taking more than 8,600 cars off the road. 

“More than half of the food produced in Canada goes to waste, and yet one in seven Canadian families struggles with food insecurity. As Canada’s second largest national grocer, we have the reach and the responsibility to redirect this food into the communities who need it most,” said Mohit Grover, senior vice-president of Innovation and Strategy, Empire, in the press release. “This partnership with Second Harvest is a significant step towards achieving our goal to reduce our food waste by 50 per cent by 2025.”

Second Harvest and Empire have been partners in the Greater Toronto Area since 2011, and recently completed a 12-week pilot of the food rescue program in 16 stores in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia. The results of the pilot were very promising: more than 94,000 meals were donated to more than 30 community organizations, averting more than 110,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.