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Author Katarina Todorovic
Katarina Todorovic
Updated on Oct 16th, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

FoodMesh 2023: Give Food a Second Chance!

In a world where food waste continues to be a pressing issue, there are champions on the front lines, like Megan Czerpak, the Head of Communications at FoodMesh. With a mission deeply rooted in sustainability and social responsibility, FoodMesh is making a remarkable impact on the way businesses handle surplus food. As Megan guides us through their innovative approach, we'll uncover how this organization helps companies reduce their environmental footprint while simultaneously ensuring that nutritious meals reach those who need them most. Welcome to the world of FoodMesh, where "waste less and feed more" is not just a slogan, but a transformative reality. Join Delivery Rank and find out more about FoodMesh.

Can you tell us about the mission and core values of FoodMesh, and how they guide the organization's efforts to reduce food waste and increase food distribution?

FoodMesh is dedicated to helping businesses reduce their food waste. Our professional food recovery services help them divert the food they are unable to sell (either because it is close to its expiry date or has aesthetic imperfections) away from waste streams and put it to its highest end use. We do this primarily through our managed food diversion service. We match businesses to a diverse network of local charitable organizations and farmers to redistribute their unsold food. We coordinate the daily collection of the food, so it is removed quickly and efficiently. Finally, we measure the volume of food businesses are diverting, so they can track their progress against its food waste reduction goals, and share the social and environmental impact of its donations with the public.

FoodMesh operates at the intersection of sustainability and social impact. How do you balance these two aspects to ensure both environmental and community benefits?

We ensure the rescued food is distributed according to a strict hierarchy: food that is edible is shared with hunger relief organizations so that it can be routed directly to the people in our communities who need it most. The food that is no longer suitable for meals is given to hobby farmers, so they can use it to feed their animals. 

We are immensely proud of the social benefit that redistributing this would-be-wasted food to charitable organizations has, but ultimately, we believe that food insecurity is an economic problem and not one that we at FoodMesh are in a position to solve. Our ambition is to live in a world where food doesn’t need to be ‘rescued’ because it’s not being wasted in the first place. 

In an industry where food safety and quality are critical, how does FoodMesh maintain and ensure the integrity of the food products it redistributes?

FoodMesh plays the role of connector between supplier and receiver, so we never actually touch the food that is being donated or sold through our programs. Our dedicated support team ensures the exchange of food is done quickly and efficiently. We also have a number of guidelines and best practices in place to help support the organizations we work with to ensure that exchange is done safely, and to supplement their own food handling best practices.

As the Head of Communications, how do you strategize and communicate FoodMesh's message to diverse audiences, including donors, partners, and the general public, to drive engagement and support for your cause?

Whoever we’re communicating with - whether it’s food businesses, government, or the general public - we will always start by presenting the simple and disturbing facts about food waste and the catastrophic impact it is having on our environment. In Canada, more than half of the food we are producing is going to waste. Lost and wasted food is responsible for between 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions - that’s four times the amount generated by the entire aviation industry. This information alone is enough for people to sit up and take notice, especially as food prices continue to soar and as many as 1 in 4 Canadians are reported to be food insecure.

However, we have found that in order for businesses to take action, we must also be able to demonstrate the financial benefits of reducing food waste. Research has revealed that for every $1 companies invest in reducing food waste, they save $14. We have also found that our customer’s waste hauling fees have gone down by as much as 40% by diverting their unsalable organics to higher-end uses through our services. 

With regards to communicating the food waste cause, there is a whole ecosystem of organizations in Canada and around the world that are finding new and innovative ways to address this enormous problem. We are all united in our fight to get governments, businesses, and the general public to pay attention to the impact food waste is having, and so a big part of our communications strategy is to help elevate the voices and the great work happening within that ecosystem. We all play our unique roles in solving the issue, so support for each other and our collective message is vital. 

Looking ahead, what are some of the long-term goals and aspirations of FoodMesh, and how do you plan to expand your reach and influence in the fight against food waste?

Our goal remains laser-focused on helping businesses reduce their food waste. The way in which we do that is forever evolving, according to the needs of the unique businesses we work with and the world and which they operate.

If you would like to find out more about FoodMesh, visit https://foodmesh.ca/

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