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Zero-Waste Starts at the Store!

10 October 2023 | By Stéphanie Tremblay
Food fightReductionTips and tricks

I’m sure many of you can relate if I confess that, for me, going to the grocery store feels more like a daunting task rather than something that fills me with joy…and this is especially true when I have to stop there during rush hour on the way home from work! But as I’ve progressed in my personal fight against food waste, I’ve found several ways to optimize my grocery shopping while limiting the waste that our purchases can generate, and I’m delighted to share them with you today!

Of course, planning is not to be neglected. A proper grocery list, to which you limit yourself as much as possible, is a great help. But there are several other tips that can help us make the right choices at the supermarket:

Taking advantage of anti-waste apps

Anti-waste apps are now well established in the most popular supermarket chains. Apps like Foodhero are very user-friendly. Their aim is to offer consumers food that would otherwise have been wasted by the merchant, at a reduced price. These apps are well worth the detour if you want to save big with liquidated surplus food, or foods whose expiry date is approaching, for example, but that are still perfectly safe to eat.


Giving “sad” food a place they deserve

Another consumer lever for reducing food waste in supermarkets is the choice of imperfect foods (the “sad” ones, they’re sometimes called). Most supermarkets have a section dedicated to foods that need to be sold (and eaten!) quickly, like bakery products approaching their expiry date, and imperfect or ripe fruit and vegetables. Prioritizing these fruits and vegetables for quick consumption, or to make a smoothie or soup, allows you to save money and save food that was otherwise destined for the garbage can…without compromising on taste or product quality!


Pay attention to quantities

Depending on your needs and the size of your household, it may be more practical to limit the number of perishables you buy at the grocery store, and return as needed. This also means fresher food in the fridge.

We also need to be careful with bulk discounts; while they can be economical on a per-serving basis, it’s better to choose quantities better suited to your household, especially if the food is perishable or not consumed regularly. In fact, when we let our food go to waste, we’re throwing away a lot of money too (it’s estimated that waste represents about $1,300 per year per household in Canada!), so it’s not always a good idea to buy large quantities if there’s a chance that a good part of the product will end up in the trash. Buying in bulk can equally help reduce waste by limiting ourselves to the quantities we really need.


Buy local and seasonal

Buying local and seasonal can also help reduce waste. Firstly, local and seasonal foods generally have a longer shelf life, having been picked more recently than those imported. Secondly, there are losses all along the supply chain, from the fields to the supermarket. Choosing food that has travelled a shorter distance limits the waste generated at each stage of the chain, during transport, for example.  What’s more, food tastes better and is much less expensive when bought locally and in season, so it’s the perfect time to stock up for the cold season that’s just around the corner!


A few good reflexes:

Lastly, a few simple steps for you to practise as often as possible, so that they become a natural part of your routine:
Eat before you shop, to avoid impulse buying;
Choose less busy times at the supermarket, so you can take the time to do all your shopping in peace and quiet;
-Try not to deviate too much from your grocery list. The extra items we buy are often non-essential temptations and can lead us to waste even more.
Beware of buying large quantities of perishable foods
-When possible, buy local and seasonal
-Check out the ‘sad’ foods section as much as possible
-Try anti-waste apps available in your area

For more anti-waste tips and tricks, sign up for a free workshop here and, in the meantime, check out the capsules and tools available on the Food Fight!

Food Waste Expert

Stéphanie Tremblay

In love with nature, Stéphanie combines her interests in the environment and food in order to raise awareness of the importance of their food choices. Her professional training and experience in environmental education make her a knowledgeable speaker who conveys her passion with enthusiasm and positivism. In her spare time, she can be found in her garden or in the forest, gathering wild edible plants.

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