Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI), the world’s first major carbon neutral food company, in partnership with kids’ conservation organization Earth Rangers, has harnessed the collective power of Canada’s youngest generation to help combat the 2.2 million tonnes of food wasted in Canada annually – that's like throwing away the weight of two million bricks every day.
Launched in fall 2022, kids across the country took part in the Earth Rangers’ app-based ‘All Taste, No Waste’ Challenge for six months. Children learned how to form and log environmentally friendly ‘habits’ such as selecting misshapen produce, composting, reusing leftovers and more. The challenge reinforced how small changes can have a big impact on the environment when we step up for environmental sustainability.
More than 9,300 Earth Rangers across Canada used fun resources to learn about and log over 119,000 new sustainable food habits, such as ‘Being a Clean Plate Champion’ where kids only dished up as much as they could eat, saving 19,192 plates of food from landfill – enough to provide lunch for a person for 53 years! The ‘upcooking’ habit prompted kids to log 14,834 meals made from leftovers – that’s the weight of almost 1,000 bowling balls!
As a reward for being climate champions and logging 100,000 habits collectively, Earth Rangers across the country unlocked an ‘All Taste, No Waste’ leftovers-focused cookbook** as a ‘thank you’ for protecting our planet. The cookbook was curated by Maple Leaf Foods’ Queen of Cuisine, Chef Sam Lazuric. Maple Leaf Foods sponsored the cookbook reward in response to 76 per cent of Canadians surveyed who expressed a desire for information about little changes they could make to help the environment1. The free, downloadable resource available to families across the country will be welcomed given that Maple Leaf’s research also revealed that 69 per cent of Canadians want examples of recipes that help reduce food waste2.
Little Changes, Big Impact
The ‘All Taste, No Waste’ Challenge is part of Earth Rangers’ ‘Project 2050’, a program funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Collective action through Project 2050 has resulted in rewards that have supported over 10,000 bees in the Northern Territories, a reforestation initiative in Kamloops BC and a species reintroduction initiative in Toronto which released Blanding’s Turtles into rehabilitated wetlands.
“The fight against climate change starts at home with every member of the family, and to help preserve the planet, we need to empower every generation to learn how each of us can step up for sustainability and join this fight,” saysRandy Huffman, Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer at Maple Leaf Foods. “This family-focused challenge powerfully symbolizes that giving easy-to-incorporate habits to eliminate food waste will instill behaviours in children to last each mealtime, and a lifetime.”
Stepping Up for Sustainability, One Habit at a Time
The challenge included habits that encouraged kids to get creative while combatting food waste, logging habits that have a measurable difference.
|Upcook Leftovers (make a new, tasty meal using leftovers)||Over 14,000 dinner plates of food were saved, that’s more than seven times the height of the CN Tower!|
|Be a Clean Plate Champion||Kids chose to only dish up as much as they could eat on 19,192 occasions, a significant feat given that 60 per cent of food households discard is fresh enough to be eaten at the dinner table.|
|Make Black Gold||Kids converted food waste into future food options 15,136 times by composting. This is a much-needed habit as only 6 per cent of food thrown out gets composted and the rest ends up as garbage.|
|Stop the Fuzz||Children froze food items before they spoiled 15,776 times – meaning the nation has freezers full of fresh produce ready for soups, smoothies or even sliced banana to top oatmeal|
|Be a Produce Picking Pro (Go Wacky)||Kids picked imperfect, and often wasted, produce from their family’s grocery shop, showing their support 12,730 times. It’s an important habit to adopt as ‘imperfect’ produce is often turned away by grocery stores for not meeting strict cosmetic standards. Imperfect produce makes up approximately 40 per cent of total food waste.|
|Be a Food Label Wizard||Kids were encouraged to work with an adult to look at and understand best before dates. 13,714 habits were logged as kids learned the importance of labels since often food past its best before date (different to a ‘use by’ date) ends up in the garbage when it could have been eaten.|
|Master the Secrets of the Fridge||Kids logged 13,815 instances of preserving food in the fridge for freshness before it has a chance to spoil. This is key to limiting food waste – and better for your pockets – as Canadians spend an average of $1,766 every year on uneaten groceries. That’s like buying a $5 coffee every single day and never drinking it!|
|Think Before You Toss||Earth Rangers across the country logged 14,715 instances of prolonging the life of produce at home by turning them into delicious smoothies or soup, inspiring creativity.|
Maple Leaf Foods has been carbon neutral since 2019 and is on a journey to become the most sustainable protein company on earth. It is committed to empowering Canadians to fight against climate change, and the ‘All Taste, No Waste’ Challenge is just one example in a variety of campaigns. For example, the Maple Leaf Foods Green Glossary explains eco terminology in a family-friendly way and the Little Changes Home Challenge inspires little changes you can make in each room of the home to help the environment. The company stresses the importance of building on these efforts as new research by Maple Leaf Foods revealed that 76 percent of Canadians recognize climate change is a critical issue and want to have an impact, but many feel overwhelmed by where to start.
“The success of the ‘All Taste, No Waste’ challenge proves that kids have a real ‘appetite’ to protect the planet and fight climate change and that with the right knowledge and tools, they can be a real force,” says Tovah Barocas, President of Earth Rangers. “We encourage all families to follow their lead and see every mealtime as an opportunity to take a positive step towards sustainability.”
To learn more about the ‘All Taste, No Waste’ challenge, click here.
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