Reframing our relationship with food
Circular Food Innovation Lab
In the spring of 2022, Save-On-Foods was invited by the City of Vancouver to participate in the Circular Food Innovation Lab (CFIL), a multi-stakeholder program addressing food waste in Vancouver. 18 businesses from across the local food value chain participated, including restaurants, grocers, product brands, a brewery, and more. We came together to build and pilot a wide variety of projects tackling different aspects of Canada’s food waste challenge.
But before we get into the details, just how enormous is this challenge and why is it important to address?
A Canadian report released in 2019 estimated that 8.79 million tonnes of avoidable, unplanned food waste resulted in a loss of $39 billion dollars to the food industry.
In Vancouver, 25,000 tonnes of edible food was discarded by businesses in 2019, representing a loss of 37,000 meals. While Save-On-Foods is already doing its part by diverting more than 90% of store-generated surplus food to food banks and farms (providing more than 35 million meals to people since 2017), there are always opportunities to drive innovation, expand our impact and improve our customers’ experience. We are proud to be leaders in Canadian grocery in diversion of food waste from landfill and our primary object is to lower the amount of food we need to divert. Exploring opportunities to address this objective led us to our chosen pilot project.
Our Pilot: The Reframe Project
The objective of the Reframe Project is to explore the impacts of “reframing” less-than-perfect produce, over-ripe items, and providing educative materials on how to better store food items at home to reduce at-home food waste.
- Design and install in-store signage that provides our customers with information on:
- Canada’s food waste challenge
- Storage tips to extend the life of produce at home
- Recipes that make use of ripe or over-ripe items such as guacamole, banana bread and more.
- Support our customers and enhance their in-store experience
- Understand the impacts of the pilot on our food diversion metrics
Save-On-Foods Cambie (2308 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T8)
Launch: February 17th
End: March 10th
Storage Tips & Tricks
Ah, berries, so delicious but so delicate! Have you ever been frustrated when you open your fridge and dismayed to see many of your raspberries, strawberries, blueberries or black berries spoiled or growing mold? Try this vinegar-bath tip to extend the freshness of your berries by up to a week!
- Fill a large bowl with 3 cups water mixed with 2 Tbsp vinegar. Since we’ll be rinsing them well, sometimes we use organic white distilled vinegar as it’s more affordable and not quite as strong of a flavor, but apple cider vinegar will work too. Place the berries into the water and let them soak 5 to 10 minutes. Gently stir the berries around every couple of minutes.
- Drain in colander and rinse well under running water.
- Place berries in salad spinner lined with a few layers of paper towels. Spin until the berries are completely dry. Alternatively, place a clean dish towel on the counter and pour the berries out on to it. Blot them gently to dry up excess water.
- Store berries in paper towel-lined sealable container, with layers of paper towels between each layer of berries. Keep the lid slightly open to allow excess moisture to escape. Place in the refrigerator to store.
We hope this helps you enjoy our berries for longer!
Nothing beats a perfectly ripe avocado! We know how important it is to use a ripe avocado at the right time, and have a few storage tricks to share depending on how long you need or want to store your avocados.
Short term storage
Here are some helpful tips for storing your avocados for 2-3 days or less.
- If your avocados look and feel ripe, you can store them in the fridge.
- Use the avocados that have lost their stems first. They will go bad, starting at the pit left by the stem.
- To prevent your cut avocados from turning brown and going bad, you need to stop air from getting into contact with the fruit. Seal the surface of the flesh by sprinkling lemon or lime juice or olive oil on top before putting them in ziplock bags or beeswax or plastic wraps.
Long term storage
If you need to store your avocados for longer periods of time, here are a few ways you can keep them stored in your freezer without risking their freshness when thawed.
- Storing & freezing avocado halves:
- Halve Your Avocado and remove the Avocado pit.
- Cut a lemon in half and squeeze it over the avocado halves to coat the exposed fruit flesh with the lemon juice. Place your avocado halves in your ziplock bag and squeeze air out and seal the bag. (lemon juice slows the process of browning).
- Storing and freezing mashed avocado
- Scoop avocado out into the storage container.
- Squeeze lemon juice, mash and mix avocado thoroughly with a fork. Cover with a tight fitting lid and store in your freezer.
- This is great to store avocado for guacamole and toast!
A common staple in many fridges, leafy greens are great additions to many different meals. The only problem is, one day they look fresh, and another they’re wilted! Check out the two tips below to extend the freshness of your leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, arugula and more.
- Paper towel trick
- Open your bag/box of greens and slide a fresh paper towel into the bag and seal with a chip clip.
- The paper towel will absorb moisture that would otherwise lead your leaves to rot. This will help the greens stay fresh, giving you more time to use up the bag. Replace the towel frequently for the best results.
- Storing greens in a new container
- First, layer the bottom of the container with paper towels. Gently pack the leaves in the container and top with another paper towel before storing in the crisper drawer. Don’t pack the leaves too tightly, or they won’t have breathing room.