A University of Guelph team has won a $20,000 (U.S.) grant for developing a tool kit to help families reduce their household food waste by improving the way they shop for groceries, prepare meals and store food.
The Food Waste Reduction Toolkit was among four projects recognized in the Danone Institute North America’s “One Planet One Health” initiative.
Teams were challenged to design, implement and evaluate community-based projects that contribute to sustainable food systems. Led by family relations and applied nutrition professor Jess Haines, the U of G initiative was the only Canadian winner, with the remainder from the United States. The grant enables recipients to further design and execute projects.
Developed with Profs. Kate Parizeau, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, and Mike von Massow, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, the tool kit uses mobile technology to help families with meal planning, grocery shopping and storage, and to ensure that foods are used before they go bad. In a related study of 94 Guelph households, the U of G team found households threw away an average of nearly three kilograms of food each week, about half of it produce.
Set to launch in March, the U of G pilot project will provide the tool kit to 30 local families with children. Families will participate in education and cooking sessions and receive meal planning worksheets, food shopping lists and information on food storage. Text messages will be sent to families to reinforce food waste reduction messages.
Danone Institute North America is a non-profit innovation centre managed by Danone North America. It is focused on promoting research, education and communication in nutrition and sustainable food systems.