The staggering amount of food waste in Edmonton and across the country can be stomach-churning.
But now, a University of Alberta researcheris reaching out with a survey for those in the food industry to investigate routes of collaboration between food businesses and other stakeholders to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Lead investigator Farrah So said the City of Edmonton and the provincial government both have plans in place to help create these collaborative programs.
“There’s a lot of work going towards trying to create discussions between food businesses, creating partnerships between food businesses and charitable organizations that redistribute waste,” said So in an interview. “For the Government of Alberta, they’re looking for ways to convert organic material into biofuel and other bio products.”
Reducing waste is good for the environment but it’s also good financially for businesses, said So.
“I would say it’s a triple win,” she said. “That’s commonly said within this area. It’s able to increase revenue, it’s able to have a positive environmental impact and hopefully with less food waste there is more food that can be sold and more food that can be eaten.”
The project has been in development since early 2021, but So said the survey has only been out for a couple of weeks and will remain open until the end of August.
One way to lower the amount of waste is for businesses to produce less food, but So said a lot of the time the waste is already produced and can be diverted to routes that are not landfills.
So graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food services in 2020 and is currently in the first year of her Master’s program in food science and technology. She said her time in the classroom sparked this project.
“Food waste in particular was an area where I thought that more work could be done and I thought a lot of promising research was coming out,” said So. “I took the opportunity during my undergrad to do a project about food waste for food manufactures and I decided to continue that into my master’s program.”
So said the researchers need as many Alberta food businesses as possible to participate in the survey so they can gain an understanding of various experiences and perspectives.
The survey can be taken at bit.ly/businessfoodwastesurvey.