The Importance of Quantifying Food Waste in Canada


  • Majd Abdulla University of British Columbia
  • Ralph Martin University of Guelph
  • Martin Gooch Value Chain Management International
  • Eduardo Jovel University of British Columbia



Canada, Energy Waste, Food Waste, Quantifying Food Waste


Understanding food waste in Canada may offer previously unrecognized opportunities and strategies to address rising food-cost inflation, food insecurity, and negative ecological impacts and energy costs attributable to food production, distribution, and accessibility. It is significant for all agents along the food chain and policy makers to know how much food Canadians waste, as well as why and where. This paper examines food waste at both the consumer and retailer levels. We used data from reports published by Statistics Canada and the World Bank to calculate the amount of food waste from the food available for consumption from 1961 to 2009. The preliminary results of the research show that food waste increased over time in relation to the food available for consumption. The average food waste was estimated at 40 percent of food available for consumption over almost five decades. The conclusion can also be drawn that food waste is positively correlated with per capital GDP and per capita income. We present recommendations for quantifying food waste and understanding the combination of reasons and factors that drive up food waste.


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Author Biographies

Majd Abdulla, University of British Columbia

Honorary Research Associate with Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

9505 Boulevard Gouin, Apartment #203, Pierrefonds, Quebec H8Y 1T7 Canada; +1-514-294-8692.

Majd Abdulla is now a private consultant on food systems, food security, and sustainable agriculture.

Ralph Martin, University of Guelph

Professor, Loblaw Chair in Sustainable Food Production, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Martin Gooch, Value Chain Management International

Chief Executive Officer, Value Chain Management International, Ontario, Canada.

Eduardo Jovel, University of British Columbia

Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



How to Cite

Abdulla, M., Martin, R., Gooch, M., & Jovel, E. (2013). The Importance of Quantifying Food Waste in Canada. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(2), 137–151.



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