Richmond Food Recovery Network

2021 BC Economic Development Award Winner

The City of Richmond is proud to have partnered with FoodMesh to deliver the Richmond Food Recovery Network as a year-long pilot program from November 2019-November 2020.

The Richmond Food Recovery Network is an online exchange platform for food manufacturers, processors, and retailers to divert unsold food inventory to secondary markets and away from waste streams. Edible food is connected to the highest value end-use including meals, food production inputs, feedstock, and compost.

According to the Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste: Technical Report, 58% of all food produced in Canada is never consumed. Over half of that waste (32%) is avoidable but is discarded because it is currently easier and cheaper to discard food than to redistribute it. Meanwhile, the need for accessible food is evident as the Richmond Food Bank had 3,484 users who visited over 27,000 times in 2018 while more than 100,000 people in Canada access food banks monthly.

The introduction of a Food Recovery Network in Richmond enabled local food manufacturing, processing, and retail businesses to adopt circular economy practices and add value to what would otherwise be a waste stream in their operations. Food products that were surplus or off-spec (i.e. mislabelled or deviate from a specified recipe) were sold at discounted rates to other businesses or donated to local charities and social groups. FoodMesh’s online business-to-business exchange platform both simplified and digitized the redistribution of surplus food for companies and social groups. Edible food was connected to the highest value end-use which includes meals, food production inputs, feedstock, and compost.