MONTREAL – Bel Group Canada is taking a new stride in its commitment to fighting food waste and food insecurity, setting an industry benchmark through its global Charter to fight against food waste integrated across the entire value chain. As a key enabler to reducing GHG emissions, fighting food waste has been part of the company’s history for a century, and is now aiming for zero destruction of finished products here in Canada by 2030.
Globally, 40% of food produced is never eaten1 while paradoxically 1 out of 9 people suffer from malnutrition in the world2. In Canada, 1 in 5 people currently experiences food insecurity3. About 18% of Canadians, or 6.9 million people, lived in households that experienced marginal, moderate or severe food insecurity, up from 15.7% in 2020. Of the 1.1 million more people in food insecurity in 2021, 802,000 were in families with children4. When food is lost or wasted, all the resources, such as water, land, energy and labour, are wasted as well. To mark the United Nations International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction on September 29th, the renowned healthy and responsible snack manufacturer is presenting its innovative initiatives to halve food waste at the global level by 2030, while working to improve food security.
“Bel Group Canada is determined to make a real difference through transformative actions, as our team firmly believes that aligning business objectives with sustainable practices is crucial to our ongoing success,” says Cristine Laforest, CEO, Bel Group Canada. “By prioritizing environmental responsibility, starting at our production facility in Sorel-Tracy all the way to the consumer’s plate, we are proud to take meaningful steps in the fight against food waste. These initiatives align with our mission to offer healthy and responsible food to all.”
From production and transformation …
As part of its comprehensive strategy, Bel Group Canada has implemented innovative measures to address food waste at multiple stages of its operations, beginning with a focus on its manufacturing processes at the Babybel® production plant:
- Optimizing production efficiency to reduce losses by 76% since the plant opening in 2020, making the Sorel-Tracy plant among the best performers Babybel® plants around the planet.
- Investing in specialized equipment to go one step further towards net zero destruction.
- A by-product of cheese production, reuse of whey that is concentrated and used as an ingredient for animal feed, making sure that every component of the milk stream is valued as opposed to ending as waste.
… to distribution and consumers
Bel Group Canada also works on an ongoing basis with its distribution partner, Congébec, to avoid food loss during warehousing & transportation and ensuring 100% of products delivered can be sold by retailers. For example, since the spring of 2023, the company has optimized some of its distribution routes to be more direct, thus reducing handling of product and avoiding potential destruction, while reducing our C02 impact.
For consumers, Bel created individual portions of The Laughing Cow® in 1921 as an efficient way to avoid food waste, which has been at the heart of the company’s values since the very beginning. This approach is still very present today, and it enables optimum conservation while providing consumers with the right amount of cheese, thus reducing leftovers.
Fighting food insecurity in Canada
Aligned with the strong desire to fight food waste and food insecurity for over a century, the company proudly supports Food Banks Canada, a national charitable organization, dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity by supporting more than 4,750 hunger relief organizations from coast to coast to coast. Bel Group Canada’s support includes ongoing product donations, contribution to the After the Bell summer program, and an in-store fundraising activation to take place in November.
“What we are seeing is the long-term effects of a broken social safety net, combined with the effects of inflation and high costs driving more people to use food banks than ever before in Canadian history,” shared Kirstin Beardsley, Chief Executive Officer, Food Banks Canada. “To end food insecurity in Canada, we must all come to the table, which is why we greatly appreciate our partnership with Bel Group Canada and the support they offer to help us work towards our vision of a Canada where no one goes hungry.”
In 2022, Bel Group Canada donated over $1M in products, and is targeting to reach $1.6M in 2023, in addition to $100,000 to support programs like After the Bell, totaling $1.7M. Employees in Montreal also took part in one of those volunteering activities at Moisson Montréal on September 27th.
About Bel Group Canada
Bel Canada Group is a subsidiary of Bel Group, a world leader in branded cheeses and a major player in the healthy snack market with distribution in nearly 120 countries. Created in 2005 to boost the development of the Group’s activities in Canada, the subsidiary now employs 250 people, including 95 at its headquarters in Montreal, contributing to the Group’s mission of providing healthier and more responsible food for all. Its brands Boursin® and The Laughing Cow® are produced under subcontract in Canada with local partners and Babybel® is produced at the company’s plant in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec. Bel Canada Group also owns MOM Group, makers of GoGo squeeZ® fruit pouches based in Toronto. To learn more, www.bel-canada.ca. To learn more about Bel Group, visit www.groupe-bel.com.
|_____________________________________________1 WWF 2021
|2 FAO 2018 The state of food security and nutrition in the world
|3 Canadian Red Cross, 2022
|4 Statistics Canada, 2021