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Exploring Upcycling for Earth Day (Plus, a MAJOR giveaway with food waste fighting Canadian brands)

Each year, around 35.5 million tonnes of food is tossed, resulting in $49.46 billion Canadian dollars wasted. 32% or 11.2 million tonnes of that food is edible, meaning it could be used to feed our communities but is unnecessarily thrown out¹. Not only is this a devastating waste of food, but it also equates to a squandering of all the limited resources that went into its production- including fresh water, land, labour and energy ².

58% of all food produced is lost or wasted in Canada. (Second Harvest)

According to the 2021 UNEP Food Waste Index Report, if food loss and waste were a country, it would be the third biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. With nearly 60 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions generated by food waste in Canada alone, this is an issue we can’t afford to ignore³.



Currently, there is a major disconnect with how we see our food. Most people are so far removed from the process of growing, harvesting and transporting what’s on our dinner plates, that they lose sight of the true cost behind their meal.


What exactly is food waste?

Put simply, food loss and waste (FLW) is the amalgamation of food across the value chain that could have been eaten but was tossed instead. A lot of people have this idea that food waste is made up of inedible, spoiled food. Unfortunately, that's not the case!


Food, regardless of its edibility, is regularly thrown out at every level of the value chain including production, processing, transport and distribution, retail, hospitality, and consumer. Reasons for waste include aesthetic imperfections, labour shortages, poor planning, product dating practices that have no correlation to food safety, lack of care, and stigma.



Food waste burdens waste management systems and exacerbates food insecurity, making it a major contributor to the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. So how can we turn the tide and do better for the sake of both our planet's health and our own?


Bruized produce supplier Egnacio, owner of Reye's Farms (Niagara, Ontario), shows us the minor aesthetic variances that lead to produce being tossed.
Bruized produce supplier Egnacio, owner of Reye's Farms in Niagara Ontario, shows us the minor aesthetic variances that lead to produce being tossed.

Where others see waste, we see potential

Without human intervention, naturally grown produce comes in a variety of wonky aesthetics- though nutritionally identical to the produce we've deemed 'pretty'. The 'imperfect' produce we rescue is farm fresh, local, and perfect by mama Earth’s standards! The only deviation they have from 'perfection' is varying in size or shape from the market standard.


Bruized is committed to uplifting our community by working with local farmers, small businesses, non-profits, & our audience to help support them in reducing their food waste. A perk of localizing suppliers includes having direct conversations with producers on what their relationship to food waste is and how we can fit into their existing models.


From this, we create demand for surplus or imperfect ingredients and inspire producers and manufacturers to shift their models to embrace circularity. We've partnered with grocery stores, distributors, and retailers to take the abundance of good food they have and make them star-ingredients in our snacks, all while preventing it from unnecessarily going to the trash. Fresh organic juice pulp from Freshouse Juice becomes a beautiful high-fibre base for our line of Pulp Crunch granolas, and excess organic ripe bananas from local grocers and food terminals works as a beautiful natural sweetener for a variety of our products. You can check out our Ingredients page for a full list of the local, upcycled, and organic ingredients we're proud to feature in our products.


With Bruized, we're starting a revolution of Embracing Imperfect and challenging the damaging notion of 'perfection'- both with the foods we eat and within ourselves. In doing so, we can push for increased demand for the outcasts and normalizing the variety nature provides!



NOT business as usual

The issue of food waste is complex and multi-faceted and doesn't have one quick-fix. Rather, most levels of the food supply chain will have to be disassembled and then rebuild in order to have a truly closed loop food system. Each link in the supply chain creates some form of food waste both unintentionally or intentionally, and this ultimately results in less food available for consumption. That's why we're proud to be a part of the new wave of sustainable businesses that recognize the potential and importance of incorporating upcycled, rescued ingredients in their products. It's no easy feat to restructure the food industry and break free from the traditional ways snack companies operate, which is why over the years, we've turned to other upcycling businesses to openly chat about our issues and innovative solutions.


If that sounds out of the ordinary for how businesses within the same industry generally operate, it's because it is! The thing is, building a circular economy and fighting food waste can only be accomplished through an industry that works together, uplifts each other, and builds through community.


Upcycled Earth Day Giveaway

Meet some of the incredible Canadian sustainable snack companies that are working hard to fight food waste. In honour of Earth Day 2023, we're excited to team up with our favourite food rescuing brands for a giveaway celebrating all things food waste reduction. Trust us, you don't want to miss this chance!



Head to our Instagram and enter for a chance to win $180 worth of delicious upcycled snacks.


Be sure to check out the amazing sustainable Canadian brands we're partnering with that are fighting food waste one delectable snack at a time, just like us!




Plus, check out a few other amazing food waste fighting Canadian companies and organizations we just can't get enough of!



Have a favourite food waste fighting Canadian company or organization we didn't mention? We'd love to hear about it in the comments. In the meantime- happy sustainable snacking, friends!


References


[1]. UN Environment Programme UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021


[2]. Value Chain Management International Inc. Food waste in Canada - "$27 Billion" Revisited


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