Starbucks Canada Announces a Commitment to Rescue 100 Per Cent of Food Available for Donation

The company is rolling out a food donation program to provide ready-to-eat, nourishing meals to those in need starting in Ontario. Once active in all 1,100 company-owned stores in Canada, Starbucks is expected to donate more than 1.5 million meals annually to those in need. This win-win program will help combat hunger and minimize food waste.

TORONTO, February 4, 2019 – Today, Starbucks Canada announces it is working towards a solution to rescue 100 per cent of food available to donate from its more than 1,100 company-owned stores. Building on a successful pilot program with Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada, Starbucks will roll-out the program across Ontario, starting with more than 250 stores in the GTA by February 22. The company is actively working to expand the program to even more cities and provinces, with a goal to have a national solution in place by 2021.

“Wasted food is a wide-scale problem for everyone in the food business,” says Luisa Girotto, Vice President, Public Affairs, Starbucks Canada. “More than half of all food produced in Canada is wasted, yet more than four million Canadians are impacted by hunger. This is unacceptable. No one wants to be throwing good food away. But the challenge has been finding a way to safely donate chilled, perishable food, while preserving its quality.”

A Focus On Food Recovery

Starbucks has a long history of working with Second Harvest and local community groups across the country to donate unsold pastries and baked goods at the end of the day. But the company wanted to do more. Starbucks leveraged its research and quality assurance testing to identify guidelines and develop training on maintaining the temperature, texture and flavour of this food, so that when it reaches a person in need, they can safely enjoy it.

In turn, Second Harvest is working with community groups across the province who will collect the food and ensure food safety standards are met. Now, nourishing items like breakfast sandwiches, Paninis, Protein Boxes, salads, yogurt, milk and dairy alternatives like soy and coconut, can be safely donated and enjoyed by those in need.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Starbucks to support food recovery in local neighbourhoods to ensure people have the food they need to be healthy while also making a positive impact on the environment,” says Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. “We all have a part to play in reducing the social and environmental costs of food waste and it’s great to see Starbucks taking a leadership role.”

A Positive Impact On The Environment

In addition to combatting hunger, the program will divert food surplus from landfills, helping to minimize the company’s environmental footprint. The amount of food wasted each year is particularly staggering. In Canada, it is estimated that nearly 60 per cent of all food produced is lost and wasted annually, according to a recent study titled The Avoidable Crisis Of Food Waste. To limit the effects of climate change, the United Nations has set a target of halving food loss and waste by 2030.

The movement to donate unsold food has been gaining momentum globally, with consumers showing increased concern for the greater issue of waste. Starbucks recognizes the work ahead and plans to build on its long history of sustainability by:

  • Achieving 99 per cent ethically-sourced coffee
  • Offering a discount to any customer who brings a reusable cup or tumbler to company-owned stores around the world
  • Introducing a strawless lid and eliminating plastic straws globally by 2020
  • Founded NextGen Cup Challenge and invested $10 million to bring a fully recoverable hot and cold fibre cup to a global scale
  • Starbucks cups contain 10 per cent post-consumer fibre, which was introduced in 2006 and the company expects to double this number by 2022
  • Building more than 1,500 LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified stores in 20 markets, including Canada
  • Starbucks purchases Renewable Energy Certificates, currently covering 62 per cent of our electricity usage globally, with a goal of reaching 100 per cent globally by 2020

About Second Harvest

Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue organization and an expert in perishable food recovery. We work with hundreds of businesses across the food supply chain to reduce the amount of surplus, edible food going to waste, which in turn stops millions of pounds of greenhouse gases from damaging our environment. The food Second Harvest recovers is redirected to social service organizations and schools, ensuring people have access to the good food they need to be healthy and strong. Second Harvest continually innovates food recovery methods and shares expertise internationally to create a better future for everyone.

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at

For further information:

Tim Gallant
Senior Communications Manager
Starbucks Canada

Maxine McDonald
Account Director
Media Profile