IGA Stores of BC and Fresh St. Market have teamed up to help local charities by diverting 100 per cent of its edible but unsaleable perishable food away from landfill to its highest end-use. (Contributed)

IGA Stores of BC and Fresh St. Market have teamed up to help local charities by diverting 100 per cent of its edible but unsaleable perishable food away from landfill to its highest end-use. (Contributed)

Okanagan grocery stores give to local charities

IGA Stores of BC joins Fresh St. Market to divert 100% of edible but unsaleable perishable food away from landfills

IGA Stores of BC, including Enderby and Lake Country, and Fresh St. Market (Kamloops) have launched an enterprise-wide food recovery program to divert 100 per cent of edible but unsaleable perishable food away from landfill to its highest end-use.

In partnership with FoodMesh, Fresh St. Market and IGA will donate edible food they can no longer sell to local charities, who in turn, share the food amongst a number of other charitable organizations – 199 in total across B.C.

These charities use the food donations they receive for their food security programming to help feed those in the communities who need it most. Donations come from all store departments and include fresh produce, dairy, meat and seafood, bakery and deli products.

Already the stores’ food donation program is yielding impressive results. Since the partnership with FoodMesh began more than a year ago in April 2020, Fresh St. Market and IGA have diverted more than 563,000 kilograms of food from landfills and saved an additional 1,069,708 kgs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

“Whether it’s because a product is off-spec or too close to its sell-by date, historically retailers have been forced to throw away their unsalable food, even though there is nothing actually wrong with it,” said Jessica Regan, chief executive officer and co-founder of FoodMesh.

“This is happening while one in eight Canadians are food insecure – a number that has risen due to the effects of COVID-19. We’re grateful to IGA Stores of BC and Fresh St. Market for taking a stand against reducing their food waste and ensuring the food they can no longer sell is shared with those in our communities who need it, and we are thrilled to be able to help them do it.”

Supporting FoodMesh is something the stores and its staff take very seriously, ensuring no food goes to waste.

“We are proud to have been part of the FoodMesh program for the past year providing perishable food to people in need, directly in the communities we serve,” said Mark McCurdy, vice president retail operations and brand strategy for Fresh St. Market and IGA Stores of BC.

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