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Apr 27, 2021

Guest Blog: Calgary Food Bank Food Rescue

April 28th is Stop Food Waste Day, an initiative to draw attention to the problem of global food waste and educate people on practical and impactful ways to change their behaviour and minimize food waste.

Jacquie Li | Stakeholder Relations

Our guest blog today was written by our friends at the Calgary Food Bank who are all too familiar with the issue of food waste. In their commitment to a hunger-free community, they have centered Food Rescue at the heart of their operation. Keep reading to learn more!

FOOD RESCUE by Avaleen Streeton, Food Industry Coordinator

Almost three-quarters of all food donations received at the Calgary Food Bank are rescued from our 352 food industry partners. Last year, that added up to over 10 MILLION pounds of food!

Where is all this food coming from? Food industry refers to organizations whose main source of income is food. This is the farmer or rancher who grows the food; manufacturers who make the food; warehouses who store the food; freight companies who transport the food; wholesalers, distributors and grocery retailers who sell the food; and restaurants and caterers who serve the food.

At each step along this food supply chain, there is a chance that food will be wasted. Food waste is top-of-mind for consumers, and as a result several food manufacturing companies have made public commitments to reduce operational food waste, but occasionally, edible food still doesn’t get consumed. In Canada, it’s estimated that anywhere between 11 million and 35 million tonnes of food is wasted every year (Crisis of Food Waste – Second Harvest). The reasons are varied: if a marketing campaign failed and there is excess inventory of a new product; if a machine’s calibration was off and the packaging is marked incorrectly; if the temperature on a refrigerated truck was set half a degree colder than standard. All these situations result in food that is still perfectly edible but can’t be sold to consumers. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, new food movement challenges arose. Our traditional food industry partners were focused on filling grocery store shelves and there wasn’t a lot of excess to share. Then with the shuttering of caterers, food services, and restaurants, there was an immediate need to redirect quality fresh food. As the pandemic continued, governments were supporting and promoting the excess from producers to go to regional food banks which resulted in thousands of litres of milk and tens of thousands of pounds of potatoes showing up at our door.

 Luckily, for more than 35 years the Calgary Food Bank has created critical connections with many food industry partners so that when these situations arise, we can rescue and redirect food that would otherwise have gone to waste. These partnerships not only benefit our food industry partners and our clients, but they also reduce food waste and help protect the planet. 

Want to know more about how we rescue quality food? Visit

Calgary Corporate Challenge is proud to support the Calgary Food Bank, one of 10 local charity partners in the 2021 September Games. If your company is participating in the Charity Challenge, be sure to check out the Charity Challenge Guide for more information on how to support them.