Montrealers denounce the extent of food waste in grocery stores

Published: 20 February 2024

A group of Montrealers, upon seeing a huge truck filled with unsold food from grocery stores each week in their neighbourhood, are raising the alarm about the extent of food waste.

Photos provided to Le Journal de Québec by concerned citizens show fruits and vegetables and breads and pastries accumulated in the dump truck which comes to collect organic materials that could not be donated or sold by a Super C in a Ville-Marie district.

The way food stores operate means that tons of food still ends up in compost and trash cans, according to experts.

“There are few players in food. They want to make the shopping experience attractive with shelves that are always full. For canned goods, it’s okay, but for fruits and vegetables, the shelf life is more limited so it becomes a problem,” agronomist and economist Pascal Thériault, Director and Senior Faculty Lecturer at McGill's Farm Management and Technology Program, told the Journal.

“As consumers, we have aesthetic expectations: carrots that are always straight, apples that are always beautiful, that also contributes to waste,” he adds.

While important for certain products such as fresh meats, the “best before” date is only provided as an indication for other items. Yogurt, for example, can remain edible months after the advertised date.

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