ArticlesBlog Food waste: How much food do supermarkets throw away? (CBC Marketplace) September 8, 2019100 Related posts: Cellphone Bill Secrets: How to Get a Better Plan (CBC Marketplace) Funeral home markups and upselling: Hidden camera investigation (CBC Marketplace) What are the best eggs? Egg crackdown (CBC Marketplace) Privacy and smartphone apps: What data your phone may be giving away (CBC Marketplace) Related tags : Canadian Broadcasting Corportation (TV network) Canadian News CBC broadcasting media cbc marketplace cbc news CBC News Network CBCNews dumpster diving environment food food waste garbage grocery stores marketplace marketplace cbc money News public broadcasting supermarkets that the walmart Post navigation Previous Article TED’s secret to great public speaking | Chris Anderson Next Article Fake online reviews: How easily can you buy a reputation? (CBC Marketplace) Comments (100) July 15, 2019 at 5:10 pm I think they should instead make a free reject food area where people on Budget who wants to get free products to consume immidietly or ASAP can take free so they don’t need to deliver to charity and risk expirey Reply July 16, 2019 at 8:46 am bring that food to africa Reply July 16, 2019 at 11:37 pm Donut place told me they have to destroy it! They used to give them to homeless but they turn around to sell it! Reply July 17, 2019 at 6:23 am I REFUSE TO SUPORT WALMART. PERIOD. Reply July 17, 2019 at 2:04 pm Where do people think food waste goes??? Reply July 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm The show's host wasted so much food too in making his point. Perfectly good food used as props. Such a waste. Reply July 17, 2019 at 4:36 pm Okay. I worked in the Fresh department at my local Wal-Mart at the time this was filmed. This is sensational and selective and is missing a lot of the truths about waste or "shrink" in the industry. In a perfect world, every employee at a store would work to reduce the waste of food, by doing their job properly like they were trained to do. Reducing waste increases the store's profit margin, which leads to better things for all the employees. (ie more $ from profit sharing, raises, promotions, more hours, more $ in our pockets) However… like any other large employer, Wal-Mart has a number of employees that just don't care. They go to work and do enough not to get fired. This lack of care leads to waste, like we see in this report. Properly trained employees doing their jobs correctly would not do the things we see here. At our store, we would "cull" our Fresh departments several times a day, rotating stock by age and removing any unsafe or expired stock as soon as we saw it. Those of us who cared would make an effort to further reduce waste by putting food items into dollar bags if they were unsuitable to sell at regular price but still safe to eat. But, wouldn't you know it, even at our little store, customers soon caught wind of this program and tried to abuse it to their benefit. No sooner did we start offering dollar bags, but customers started confronting our staff with stock, claiming it should be reduced simply because they didn't want to pay full price for it. But why don't you donate it to a food bank? I'll tell you why. We used to do that. But again, greed would trump need, and no sooner would donated food be sent out to people who could have eaten it, they would return it to our stores for $. Wal-Mart at the time this report was filmed had a 100% return guarantee. You could show up at our store with just about anything from our stores and get something in return for it. Customers would buy food, let it rot past its expiry date, then try to eat it, come to our store and complain and get at least a gift card to the value of the food they wasted. Why do you lock up the bins? One, safety and liability. We don't want you to get sick eating rotten food! If someone were to get sick off of the food they nicked from a bin, the company would get sued. Two, its company property. At our store, we sold our food waste to a bio-fuel company. So yeah, if I saw some dude with a camera crew rummaging around in our bins, I'd lock them up too! I haven't even started to talk about the amount of waste that happens on a distribution level, and how stores would get sent way too much stock because someone higher up the ladder messed up. I'll save that for another day. TL;DR If everyone did their job properly this wouldn't happen. Reply July 19, 2019 at 2:12 am Well if you put donuts right on the grass… Reply July 19, 2019 at 2:23 am For Americans, the Canadian dollar is a little less than the US dollar. The Canadian dollar is about 77 cents in American currency. So the 31 billion is about 30 and a half billion is American dollars. Reply July 19, 2019 at 3:27 am O my gosh, so wasteful. Shame on all stores that waste Reply July 20, 2019 at 7:05 pm Yes there is a lot of throw aways…but yes there can be that many returns…there can also be a lot of stuff customers take out of refrigeration/freezers then leave on a shelf somewhere else.and better yet where customers leave refrigerated food in an a freezer or frozen food in a refridgerated unit.once food has thawed(even if not completely) or food becomes frozen(even if not completely)….it has to be thrown out. You buy food and return it…ya that has to be thrown out too cause it left the store. You change your mind on that $15 steak at the register…chances are that's getting thrown out too. Just cause something in a dumpster has a week before expiration date doesn't mean there wasn't a reason it was thrown out. That package with one bad potato will be passed over by customers because of that one bad potato.and even if food is marked down…when something looks off people won't buy it.Can things be donated to food banks…of course.with the stores not commenting they may be donating but won't address what's being thrown out on camera. Many stores will donate food in the US Reply July 21, 2019 at 3:12 am And we’re being over charged for things that they can afford to throw out. Reply July 22, 2019 at 7:58 am Lol I'm not discussed that's what they do here Reply July 23, 2019 at 6:13 pm 😭 Heart bleaks Reply July 24, 2019 at 3:41 am they don't give it to the shelters because if they did people wouldn't buy food to donate to the shelters… some of these places have the nerve to ask you at the cash register for donations to feed the hungry (another fantastic CBC expose, you should look it up) but won't give this food away because it will ultimately affect their bottom line… Reply July 24, 2019 at 2:40 pm Perhaps if their reason is it's more expensive to donate them to an institution like orphanages, Prison, and foundations for the poor etc. Why not these institutions send their representative to ask for permission to collect food that are still good for consumption? Just a suggestion. It's really a tremendous amount of waste when there's a lot of people around are starving. Reply July 25, 2019 at 8:46 pm watch waste and a sin and millions of people starve… Reply July 27, 2019 at 11:11 am Wal mart is the most crooked,lying,scandalous corporation EVER! Reply July 28, 2019 at 2:37 pm They should donate it to the food bank honestly it’s sad there are tons of people suffering from hunger…🙁 Reply July 29, 2019 at 12:16 pm I work at a supermarket in Sweden. Here we really don’t throw away food unnecessary. We let the food stay on the shelves until the “best before” date start approaching and then we will sell them for a discounted price. If the product isn’t sold, THEN we will throw it out. BUT there are times where we have to throw out good food for example if the packaging is broken. Because no costumer want to buy that product. Also, sometimes we have to throw food because of faults of the producer, for safety reasons. For example the other day we had to throw away all of the coconut flour from certain batches because they might contain traces of metal and wouldn’t be safe for consumption. Nothing we could do about it. And so I wouldn’t recommend dumpster diving. You never know the reason the food has been thrown away, it could be dangerous. Reply July 29, 2019 at 12:22 pm Come check our dupster in India… Reply July 29, 2019 at 6:25 pm Our Walmart’s here all have compactors inside. Nothing is left outside Reply July 29, 2019 at 9:44 pm Such a disgusting practice ppl are hungry all over give the food away.!!!!!! Reply July 30, 2019 at 2:32 pm The reason Corporate bosses do not want to face the on-camera interview is they know they are doing it all wrong but don't have GUTS to take responsibility and face the public consequences. Reply July 30, 2019 at 4:20 pm It's disgusting…..that's y I hate shopping in super market Reply July 31, 2019 at 4:06 am 14:40 Reply August 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm I can’t believe u just did that!!! I though that the whole point was that the food was good enough to still be eaten Reply August 2, 2019 at 3:29 pm Isn't capitalism grand? Reply August 3, 2019 at 8:59 pm Part of what is not being told, is WHY some of that food is being dumped. I worked in a supermarket, in New Zealand. When unwrapped fruit and vege fell on the shop floor, we often had to dump it, as it may become bruised or contaminated. Potatoes, apples, tomatoes, peppers, onions could be taken from bags, inspected for damage, and good ones put into loose bins. Peelable fruit like citrus could go back on the shelf.Often meat, dairy, salad, deli products were dumped because it was left around the store by customers, and we couldn't know how long it had been out of the chiller, so we were aren't permitted to sell it. Same with ice cream! Unsealed bakery products had to be dumped, as you don't know if someone with dirty/ germy hands had touched the baked goods. Dry goods may have been exposed to wet, and sometimes we found leaking juice, milk or cleaner products put on top of food items. If there was any 'dampness' mark on the drygoods packet, it had to go out as we couldn't know if the product had been contaminated. NO excuse for canned or bottled goods to be dumped, other than expiration date, so we would rinse those and put back onto shelves, donate to food banks, or use in the deli.Dumped unsafe foodwaste was always sent to pigfarms. Reply August 4, 2019 at 5:56 pm im single and on a fixed income.i can not afford to waste food.i try to freeze it before going bad but if i dont there is not much that goes into my compost .i would suspect it would be a few years before before i got any soil out of my compost. i just hate waste. plus i was born in the 50s and we couldnt afford waste. England btw. Reply August 5, 2019 at 11:16 am And on top of this its illegal in the us in many cities to scavange anything from the trash. Apparently being poor and especially, hungry, is a crime. Reply August 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm There was one time that I didn't want an item that was in my shopping cart, when I went to pay. I was told that if I didn't want the product they would have to throw it out, because they didn't know how long it was sitting in my buggy for. I said really? I wanted to speak to the manager, which I was able to. I told them you guys are telling me that if I don't want this product you have to throw it out? The manager told me it is policy as we don't know how long it has been in your shopping cart for, as this can make the person sick possibly. I said fine whatever I will just buy it. I ended up giving it to the food bank, which they were gladly to take off my hands and give to someone who needed it. I don't understand why walmart and all these grocery stores do not just donate the stuff to the food bank. There are so many Canadians who don't even get a meal each day and have to struggle to find it. Reply August 7, 2019 at 3:30 am I used to do customer service at Wal-Mart if you return food we have to throw it out since it could have been tempered with . and they used to donate it to shelters and people in need but if that person were to get sick from the food they could sue Wal-Mart for it. I don't agree wish we didn't waste so much but that's why they do it . Reply August 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm I wonder how many self-called 'dumpster-divers' here in the comments, are actually dumpster-diving… Reply August 7, 2019 at 6:51 pm Where he left his shoes? Reply August 8, 2019 at 12:23 am NO ONE GIVES A CRAP!!!! Reply August 9, 2019 at 8:04 pm You can give this food for poorest people Reply August 10, 2019 at 12:51 pm Jesus! What a waste! They could feed hundreds of people. One simple solution = “Olio” app. Or at least let people have access to those bins so they can help themselves. Reply August 10, 2019 at 2:13 pm WrOngheart… Reply August 11, 2019 at 1:03 am You are ruining it for the homeless and the freegans with this investigative coverage. People will starve as a result! Reply August 11, 2019 at 5:08 am Here in 2019, no policies yet in Canada for food waste. Reply August 11, 2019 at 11:26 am Why can’t that food go to the poor, hungry n homeless 🤦♂️ Reply August 11, 2019 at 1:10 pm Supermarkets are selling a product.As a customer I want %100 guarantee that I'm getting most of what i pay for.Super markets have to be fussy otherwise they get slammed for health reasons.Should they be wasting it?Probably not.But at the end of they they have to decide what's best for the customer Reply August 11, 2019 at 1:57 pm The situation is exactly the same right across the food service industry , from corporate fine dining for execs at the office to the staff canteen, and of course even when you are the one that has cooked all this fine expensive foods, you are not allowed to keep the waste or take away to eat later…Marks and Spencers are the only large food supplier that has zero waste policy and anything not sold is returned and distrubuted to food banks etc or composted… Reply August 11, 2019 at 2:37 pm This makes me so mad being Syrian personally very blessed but i know a alot of people who aren't i couldn't finish this vid Im livid… Reply August 11, 2019 at 11:57 pm To be frank, IDK about Walmart, but at most places, there's a reason food goes to disposal. I'm guessing that Walmart is throwing out products that they no longer decide to carry. Anything returned that is refrigerated is likely thrown out as the store can't guarantee food safety. 3 days is a little early for salads, but no one is going to buy a large salad with only 2 days left of shelf life. Oranges are thrown out when there is a bad one in the bag. Sometimes you get bad batches. There is a size difference between bagged oranges and bulk oranges, and most customers won't buy small when mixed in with the bulk. They could juice oranges (which isn't very profitable, requires sanitary preparation) or donate them. A donation scheme would cut back on a lot, but perhaps the Canadian government doesn't give incentives the way American donations do. Either way, Walmart decided that the benefits of donating (and perhaps liability) outweigh the additional costs for storage, sorting, and scanning out the donation. Those green bins you looked at 2:42 were compost bins (bad journalism). Corn looked fine, but it does get white mold or smashed up and turns white. A blueberry pint gets tossed if there's a cluster of moldy ones at the bottom, or dropped and half spill all over the floor. Dumpster diving for "food that is still good to eat" is a bad idea. Anything that should be refrigerated that is left out of refrigeration for 4+ hours is a food safety risk, period. Most of the time people's digestive system (and immune system) is good enough to handle it, but it's still a risk. It helps that we take steps such as pasteurizing and and cooking foods, which reduce risk, but it's still a risk and by no means good practice to eat unrefrigerated foods, much less sell it to customers that may not be able to refrigerate it right away. They also throw out (or ship back) food safety recalls. Food waste is ideally under 10% for produce, perhaps closer to 5% if the manager is ordering really well. Reply August 12, 2019 at 2:57 am Nobel. I have talked to employees and seen more the a half of bakery cooked and baked inventory with more then 1/2 shelf life bakery items thrown out daily at local chain bakeries because of cooperate policy. Wasteful and disturbing. Out side the doors people beg for food and change for life needs. HORRIBLE Reply August 12, 2019 at 7:22 am I live here in sauth Texas n wall Mart does donate their food to pantris I have got some n it is good I have got bread tortillas nso n I'm thankful for that because I'm not able to work cause I have problem with my knees n sometimes I didn't have in of money for groceties Reply August 13, 2019 at 12:34 pm give about-to-expire food to poor people or food bank can cause legal dispute and the cost could be much higher than just throw-them-away. Under current political correct priority atmosphere, give these kind food to poor can be considered as discrimination. So don’t blame Walmart, blame the system. Reply August 14, 2019 at 5:35 pm They could sell those foods at a deep discount to customers, and let people who run homeless shelters have it for free, this is a miscarriage of Justice for those who are starving or hungry, smh🤔 Reply August 14, 2019 at 8:59 pm Just maybe if they charged less there would be less waste? Reply August 14, 2019 at 11:30 pm Not in my home town… Garbage is true garbage Reply August 15, 2019 at 2:33 am Sad ppl starving smh Reply August 15, 2019 at 7:57 am I took back some cans of beans ( i bought the wrong kind) ITS CANNED FOOD and i was told they throw them away. !!!! Reply August 16, 2019 at 1:52 am With all the homeless still begging for food, I would think that these big box food marts would open up a food pantry for those in need. Reply August 16, 2019 at 8:25 am Its sad…. we treat those with nothing like they're nothing. We have more than enough… and we are cruel to each other Reply August 17, 2019 at 3:31 am I 100% am disgusted by this food waste, but also consider sometimes with perishable items at least, customers will sometimes leave those items in a cart or somewhere outside of the refrigerator. I’d much rather the store toss it out then end up buying the frozen food or dairy that thawed or got too warm that they then put back to prevent waste. That could get people very sick. Also some of those items could have been recalled, exposed to chemicals/contamination ect. We don’t really know in every case. Overall though I definitely find this kind of waste disgusting! The items that don’t fall into those categories should absolutely be donated. Reply August 17, 2019 at 4:40 pm And here comes me from the Philippines, who see lot of my fellow countrymen being hungry every single day 😭 Reply August 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm And if you buy your food at these places you’re paying for all that waste—-it’s added to the price of what you buy Reply August 18, 2019 at 2:53 pm Walmart can get bent Reply August 19, 2019 at 3:46 am Because of the developed countries of the governments of the world giving to much taxes breaks to those Corporations.They don’t care how much they wasted in throwing out in eatable foods and useable products for decades. Reply August 19, 2019 at 7:24 am A lot of times it's an insurance thing if the people could get sick from eating it and they could get sued. Half the food produced in the United States ends up in a landfill. So why is there so many starving people Reply August 20, 2019 at 3:56 am please send this food to children in INDIA….KHARMA will punish us for all the waste in this country…. and we say we don't have enough food because we are too many people??????? WE ALL SHOULD BE ASHAME OF THIS Reply August 20, 2019 at 5:42 am They put locks on dumpsters in my country so people can't do this……………..Not fair but that is what happens. Reply August 21, 2019 at 3:37 am malls in philipine is different. Those should be trow still in shelvs Reply August 21, 2019 at 5:11 am should be given away or big discount.. Reply August 21, 2019 at 9:11 pm I like this reporter…. in US they tell u about the problem but they don't look into solving it. Reply August 22, 2019 at 7:54 am Good Afternoon, Hi there, we r from spotlite trans 7, indonesia. We would like to ask for permission to use ur footage above for our show. we will put credit title for ur channel and footage. Best regards, Spotlite Team. Reply August 22, 2019 at 10:53 pm It's just sickening how wasteful they are Reply August 23, 2019 at 11:52 am WTF now I'm a go behind Walmart. It's still good food going wasted Reply August 23, 2019 at 8:36 pm Walmart would rather bin the food than give it to hungry people.PEAK CAPITALISM right here.And it will remain like this for a lot of time until people decide to not be sheeps anymore. Reply August 26, 2019 at 12:11 am I only eat what I have untill it's all gone and then I go purchase more once it empty . Yes Canadian wast a lot and it's need to change Reply August 26, 2019 at 4:43 am You guys doing great 👍👍 Reply August 27, 2019 at 8:01 am Why can’t they put a fridge out side of the store and put the food in there so the public can take it it’s so sad when lots of people are hungry Reply August 27, 2019 at 6:52 pm they will fire you for eating what is to be trowed out. a big shame Reply August 28, 2019 at 12:00 am This food waste isn't about "food waste", it's about capitalism. If multi-national/global corporations start giving away food for free, the whole capitalist model goes under scrutiny and the people at the top, making billions, fear the repercussions. Reply August 28, 2019 at 12:41 am What if that was returned food😳 Reply August 28, 2019 at 12:48 am This is so evil but doing a story on it cause it to be locked up. Reply August 29, 2019 at 2:13 pm I mean its Walmart. They are only in it for the Profit. Nothing Else. If they cant sell the food, No one will have it. Unless Government can step in and Say it needs to Stop wasting the food and said it to Food banks and Shelters or You Need to Shut your Doors. Reply August 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm Send it to afrika Reply August 31, 2019 at 12:14 am Grocery stores throw this food out because people are too picky when they buy it. If a bag of potatoes has a bad potato, the store should put it in the discount rack not in the trash. Reply August 31, 2019 at 8:14 pm Thank god we don't waste food in The Netherlands. When i go to store there is always food that's good for 1 day before it gets expired. Ofcourse you get 50% discount. If it's expires the same day then its either 75% discount given or buy 2 and pay for 1.America has a lot of homeless & poor people. Why not give the food 100% discount (sell it for free) instead of throwing it away ? Reply September 1, 2019 at 7:02 pm STOP! —SHOPPING– in WAL-MART! Evil Company…. Stop! Your Shopping:) go elsewhere Reply September 1, 2019 at 7:32 pm You see, whilst I don't condone this shocking waste when it could go to feed the homeless and/or poor; there is one aspect where one could sympathise with supermarkets; and that is that often shoppers will change their minds about a fridge or freezer product that they've put into their trolley. Later on, they often discard this product anywhere, which may perhaps have been discarded in a fridge or freezer at the store, but more often than not is placed elsewhere. The store doesn't know how long such products have been out of the freezer, or fridge, and so they have to throw it away. However, they could put these products on a shelf at a greatly reduced price, with a warning to shoppers of how they came to be so greatly reduced in price. Reply September 2, 2019 at 5:15 am walmart is a bunch of liars Reply September 2, 2019 at 7:05 am they could at least just give it to their employees, that wouldn't even be an extra step Reply September 2, 2019 at 6:14 pm the problem is take the food home (and get caught) and there goes your job Reply September 3, 2019 at 3:08 pm This should be a story about how to actually make changes for the better in the world. You do not put on mask wear all black and punch people. Reply September 4, 2019 at 4:42 am time to dumpster dive. Reply September 4, 2019 at 5:32 pm I personally actually quit my job at a supermarket because of this. I worked on the fresh produce department, and the amount I had to throw out daily was insane. on a saturday night, food that would expire on sunday would also have to be thrown out due to the store being closed. 9/10 products would still be perfectly fine to eat even after that date. but instead of donating the food to a charity (they even pick it up here if you have large amounts like we had!) they would just tell me to write em off, toss em in a crate and then at the end of the night toss the crate in the bin. it's absolutely insane how much food is thrown out just cus there's a day written on it. Reply September 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm There's no saving it in our city. It's all thrown into compactors. Reply September 4, 2019 at 7:51 pm this is f*cking insane!! people are starving and others decide to throw out perfectly fine food :/ Reply September 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm I think that they get more money for writing it off when they throw it away than they do for donating. At least in the U.S. Shameful. Reply September 4, 2019 at 9:52 pm You could give it to people who have no food Reply September 5, 2019 at 2:35 am 20:12, always get a kick out of seeing people here in Canada wearing kits for Championship league clubs. Reply September 5, 2019 at 12:10 pm If they give it away and someone gets "sick" they can be sued. Reply September 5, 2019 at 2:04 pm Wtf just happend in the end why you waste food too just to make a point Reply September 6, 2019 at 6:45 pm I love in the us and its makes me sick how much food is wasted here 🙁 Reply September 7, 2019 at 7:22 am Give to shelter …individual becomes ill… lawsuit. More food wasted by individuals at home than commercial vendors. Some stores do have a draw system with farmers for waste to feed to livestock . More choice consumers have the more waste will occur. Reply September 8, 2019 at 2:21 am I think Wal-Mart is evil…. 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