Flashfood is an app that people can use for deals on food that can both help them cut down their grocery bill and reduce waste to landfills. Photo by Mike Chouinard

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

It’s fall. That means harvest time and holiday meals, but for many people, putting food on the table can be a struggle.

Recently, Loblaw Companies, which owns Real Canadian Superstores and others, expanded its use of the Flashfood app as a way for grocery stores to better market foods that might soon be thrown out, and in turn, help customers save money through quick sales and reduce landfill waste.

The app actually grew out of a pitch on the TV show, Dragon’s Den. Loblaw had started using the app at some of its chains back east before expanding the program to the west in late summer.

“Flashfood is a new program for us that provides customers with access to surplus food at discounted prices. Marking down products before they expire is not a new concept for our stores, but this gives customers a notification of what products are available in their store and an easy way for them to order, pay for and pick up these products,” a Loblaw representative told the Comox Valley Record in an email.

The Flashfood program was added to all Real Canadian Superstore locations in August. Through Flashfood, Loblaw explains, customers can find out what items are nearing the end of their shelf and save as much as 50 per cent, which could help individuals and families facing food security issues.

Maurita Prado, executive director of LUSH Valley Food Action Society in the Comox Valley, says the questions around household food insecurity are complex and are related to poverty and income. She cites meal programs and emergency services through agencies like the food bank as local examples to help people on an immediate basis. The Comox Valley Food Bank states on its website that it serves 2,000 people each month, 30 per cent of whom are children.

LUSH Valley, itself, has programs aimed at increasing access to food while also helping local people growing produce who might have excess supply, such as through its fruit tree program. Other programs are aimed at increasing people’s skills and knowledge around food and access to healthy – and where possible, local – food.

“We’re really focussed on community food security,” she said. “Community food security is more about the entire food system.”

As another example, over the last two years, LUSH Valley has been running a farm gleaning program through which they can assist area farmers when farmers need help with crops.

“In exchange for that labour, we receive any produce that’s in excess,” she said. “It goes to one of 12 social service partners.”

RELATED STORY: LUSH Comox Valley’s farm gleaning program growing

A related issue to food security is food waste reduction. As Flashfood founder and CEO Josh Domingues said while on Dragon’s Den a couple of years ago, “When food gets thrown out, typically it ends up in a landfill, gets covered by other garbage and when it rots, it produces methane gas.”

Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM), which oversees waste management collection and diversion programs, sees the diversion of food waste from landfill space as its best opportunity to meet its target of diverting 70 per cent of waste by 2022. On its website, it notes a partnership between itself, the Village of Cumberland and the Town of Comox on a pilot program for organics collection to help look for ways to cut down on this material.

RELATED STORY: Plenty more waste in Comox Valley and Campbell River landfills could be diverted – audit

Last year, CSWM reported that, from a two-week audit of regional waste composition in September 2017, discarded food was the most common type of waste unnecessarily ending up in landfills, accounting for 20.2 per cent of divertable waste.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Tofino-Ucluelet highway to open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday before shutting down for 24 hours

Vehicles will be screened at the Tofino/Ucluelet junction and at Sproat Lake.

UPDATED: Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Tofino shakes up emergency notification service

“You can download maps and it has more functionality.”

Dylan Green set to launch B.C.’s first ride-hailing app in Tofino

The Whistle! app will be available in Tofino on Feb.1 and in Whistler Feb. 6.

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Most Read