From grocery bag to garbage: New study shows Canadian households wasting more than $2.5 billion of fresh produce each year

New study shows Canadian households wasting more than $2.5 billion of fresh produce each year. (CNW Group/KitchenAid Canada)

TORONTO, July 16, 2013 /CNW/ - Every time they go grocery shopping, Canadians spend approximately 34 per cent of their weekly grocery budget on produce, but a significant portion of fruits and vegetables get tossed in the garbage each year.

In fact, a new study commissioned by KitchenAid brand* shows the average Canadian spends approximately $40.80/week on fresh produce but will throw out close to 10 per cent of their purchase - cumulatively wasting billions of dollars** worth of uneaten fruits and vegetables each year.

But what many Canadians don't know is that they are unknowingly shortening the lifespan of their produce simply by storing it improperly. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents did not know that certain fruits and vegetables should be stored separately to ensure maximum freshness.

For example, produce like apples and green onions emit ethylene gas, which speeds up the ripening process and can cause undesired changes in taste and texture. Others like spinach and yams are sensitive to this gas and should be stored separately from ethylene producing fruits and vegetables. With more than half of Canadians (55 per cent) willing to pay more for premium fruits and vegetables, be it organic, locally grown or free trade, it's important to know what they can do to extend the lifespan of their food.

To keep your food fresher longer, KitchenAid has a collection of refrigerators equipped to tackle humidity, ethylene gas and odours - all of which contribute to over-ripening. The KitchenAid® Preserva® Food Care System is an exclusive system designed to control humidity and temperature inside the fridge and freezer with two truly independent cooling systems; the system also includes a FreshFlow™ Produce Preserver to absorb ethylene gas and a FreshFlow™ air filter to reduce odours that can rob foods of their freshness. This refrigeration innovation can actually help delay over-ripening by up to 25 per cent in commonly purchased produce - a key benefit for Canadians, as 68 per cent of those surveyed said they would buy more produce each shopping trip if they knew it would last longer.

"The freshest possible ingredients are the foundation for a great recipe, but not everyone has time to run to the market numerous times during the week," says celebrity chef Lynn Crawford.  "KitchenAid® refrigerators with the Preserva® Food Care System help extend the lifespan of produce so you can buy fresh ingredients with the confidence in knowing that your refrigerator will maximize their taste and texture."

Here are a few more fresh facts from KitchenAid brand:

  • The average Canadian spends $121/week on groceries.
  • Thirty per cent of Canadians shop for produce twice/week.
  • Ontario and British Columbia residents spend more on produce compared to the Atlantic Provinces (Ontario - $41.70/week, British Columbia - $43.90/week), the Atlantic provinces spend the least with an average of $29.80/week.
  • 18-34 year olds spend 26 per cent more on produce weekly compared to 35-44 year olds ($49.70 vs. $39.40).
  • Forty-five per cent of Canadians say they frequently throw away lettuce followed by:
    • Bananas - 41 per cent
    • Tomatoes - 24 per cent
    • Grapes - 23 per cent
    • Celery - 19 per cent
  • Nine in 10 Canadians feel guilty about throwing away uneaten fresh produce.

About KitchenAid Brand

Since the introduction of its legendary stand mixer in 1919 and first dishwasher in 1949, KitchenAid has built on the legacy of these icons to create a complete line of products designed for cooks. Today, the KitchenAid brand offers virtually every essential for the well-equipped kitchen with a collection that includes everything from countertop appliances to cookware, ranges to refrigerators, and whisks to wine cellars.  KitchenAid believes that preparing and sharing food together is a wonderful way to connect with family and friends. Visit www.KitchenAid.ca to learn more.

* A survey of 1501 Canadians was completed online between May 21 and May 23, 2013 using Leger's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

** Canadian households (13, 320, 600 [based on 2011 Census data] multiplied by $190.94) of wasted produce per Canadian household per year.

Image with caption: "New study shows Canadian households wasting more than $2.5 billion of fresh produce each year. (CNW Group/KitchenAid Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130716_C7637_PHOTO_EN_29028.jpg

SOURCE: KitchenAid Canada

For further information:

Simone Gervais
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
416-413-4759
simone.gervais@hkstrategies.ca