04 Apr FoodMesh and Choices Markets team up to donate unsold food to British Columbians in need
April 4, 2023
New food donation program diverting edible, surplus food to community members who need it most.
FoodMesh and Choices Markets are teaming up to help bring unsold food to families and individuals experiencing food insecurity.
In partnership with local B.C. grocer Choices Markets, FoodMesh—a Vancouver-based company that provides digital solutions to help reduce unnecessary food waste—is launching its Managed Retail Food Diversion Service in Choices store locations in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna.
Through the partnership, Choices is donating edible food it can no longer sell to 18 local hunger-relief organizations who, in turn, share the food with other charitable organizations in the region.
“Hunger-relief organizations are seeing a significant increase in the number of people relying on food donations,” says Jessica Regan, CEO and co-founder of FoodMesh. “We are proud to be partnering with Choices Markets to keep edible food out of landfills and ensure that these organizations have a regular supply of nutritious food for people in the community who are in need.”
Through its Managed Retail Food Diversion Service, FoodMesh matches grocers that have surplus food with charity organizations first and then farmers. Food that is edible is shared among a network of charities for meals, and food that is no longer acceptable for people to eat is donated to hobby farmers for animal feed. FoodMesh manages the network to ensure minimal disruption to grocery store operations and measures donations to track the sustainability impact for partner organizations.
FoodMesh’s partnership with Choices Markets follows a successful pilot at the Choices location in Kitsilano. Since launching in August 2022, the pilot program has already diverted more than 15,000 kg of unsold food—the equivalent of 27,000 meals—to local charities and hunger-relief organizations. Food donations come from all store departments, including fresh produce, dairy, meat, seafood, bakery and deli products.
“We are incredibly proud to be partnering with FoodMesh,” says Jon Janower, Chief Operating Officer, Choices Markets. “At Choices, we firmly believe in cultivating win-win relationships, and this collaboration with FoodMesh is a shining example of that. Thanks to this partnership, all ten Choices locations are diverting 100 per cent of their unsalable edible food away from landfills, benefitting people in need in our community as well as the environment. We are excited about the positive impact we can make together.”
Food Stash Foundation is one of the charitable organizations that picks up unsold food from Choices’ Cambie and Kitsilano locations, delivering it to community partner charities across Vancouver.
“Demand for our programs is at an all-time high,” says Carla Pellegrini, Executive Director of Food Stash Foundation. “We are always looking for more food donors who want to divert their good, surplus food out to the community instead of letting it go to waste. This partnership between FoodMesh and Choices Markets has helped us be able to keep up with demand. We now serve seven new non-profit organizations with weekly donations of good food to serve their community, and we are looking forward to growing our programming soon as well.”
Food waste is a significant global issue. In Canada, 58 per cent of all food that is produced is never consumed. Through its work, FoodMesh has found that 45 per cent of food typically discarded by retailers is still edible. Food can be discarded for a variety of reasons, such as being too close to its sell-by date or because it has aesthetic imperfections. Partnerships like this one with Choices help to address the problem. As a bonus, donating unsold food also benefits the environment as organic waste sent to landfills is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
More information about FoodMesh’s Managed Retail Food Diversion Service, including how to join the network, is available here.
Mesh Exchange (dba FoodMesh) is a Vancouver-based Certified B Corporation dedicated to reducing unnecessary food waste and feeding more. It provides digital solutions that unite all elements of the food supply chain to help organizations quickly and easily divert their surplus food to the people in our communities who need it most. Learn more at foodmesh.ca.
About Choices Markets
Choices Markets is Western Canada’s largest local grocer of natural and organic foods. From Kitsilano to Kelowna, Choices customers enjoy an extensive selection of organic, specialty and local food items at fair prices. Learn more at choicesmarkets.com.