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Blog: Every Bite Counts

Fighting Food Waste at the 2022 Zero Waste Conference

In September 2022, delegates from around Canada and the world gathered in Vancouver, BC to discuss one critical question – how can we create a future without waste? That was the core theme of the annual Zero Waste Conference presented by Metro Vancouver in collaboration with the National Zero Waste Council. Over two days, speakers and attendees explored solutions and strategies that can help create a new economy that is regenerative and waste-free by design. Food waste surfaced as a key problem but also a high-impact opportunity for protecting the environment and climate.

Food Resourcefulness: Reducing Food Waste When It Matters Most

Food Resourcefulness - Opening Session

One of the opening sessions explored how we can be more resourceful with food to benefit people, pockets, and the planet. Richard Swannell, the International Director of WRAP, the organization that leads Love Food Hate Waste globally, shared that tackling food waste is one of the most impactful ways to combat climate change, with citizens having a key role to play.

Kristen Denega, Canada Hellmann’s Market Lead & North America Innovations at Unilever, shared new research that found cost-conscious consumers were adjusting their household behaviours, but that more cost savings could be realized by preventing food waste at home.

Love Food Hate Waste Canada was referenced as a go-to resource for food-saving tips, as was Hellmann’s Fridge Night program, which provides three key food waste hacks:

  • Dedicate 1 night per week to use up the mismatched ingredients left in the fridge (AKA fridge night)
  • Use the 3+1 approach: pick a base, grab some veggies, add a protein, and finish with a magical touch of flavour
  • Learn how to make flexible recipes (flex-ipes), where ingredients can be swapped out easily for what you have in the fridge

Hellmann’s research found that families can cut food waste by 33% by using these strategies. Kristen also emphasized how important it is to share these tips with friends and family. We can all make a difference when we work together! In the words of their slogan, “make taste, not waste”.

Developing a Culture for Change


Love Food Hate Waste Canada also featured prominently on the Culture Change Session on day two of the conference.  Sam Hubble, from WRAP UK, shared how they used a behaviour change intervention framework to design simple and effective messages to help citizens reduce food waste. This boiled down to three key behaviours:

  • Buy what you need
  • Store it correctly to keep it fresher for longer
  • Eat what you buy

Explore the resources from these suggestions on the Love Food Hate Waste Canada website under the tabs Plan It Out, Keep It Fresh, and Use It Up. You will find meal planning tips, a food storage guide from A (apples) to Z (zucchini), recipe ideas, and more!

Developing a Culture for Change - Sam Hubble

The audience also heard behaviour change strategies from Angela Cooper, Senior Strategist and Practice Manager at BEworks, and Dr. Kate White, Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science at UBC Sauder School of Business.

Angela shared how it is often not the customer’s fault for making unsustainable choices. People are constrained by limited time and energy, will reach for defaults automatically, and make choices that are immediately beneficial. When businesses recognize these constraints, they can design better options for customers.

Dr. White shared information on the SHIFT framework that she developed to help businesses and organizations develop a culture for change.

Dr. White wrote in the framework: “From choosing options that have more sustainable attributes, to using products in more efficient ways, to changing our “throw away” mentality regarding consumer fashion and other goods, there are many ways in which our consumer behaviours can shift towards more ecologically sustainable outcomes.”

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