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Empire Company Limited and Sobeys Inc. surpasses food rescue goal to donate 30 million meals annually in partnership with Second Harvest

National partnership directs excess food to Canadians experiencing food insecurity and away from landfill to significantly decrease related greenhouse gas emissions each year.

STELLARTON, NS, April 22, 2024 /CNW/ - Empire Company Limited ("Empire") and wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc. ("Sobeys") has surpassed its 2023 annual goal to divert 31 million pounds of surplus food annually from its operations to support local charities across Canada. Since Empire and Second Harvest formed a national partnership in 2021, the volume of rescued food has reached its goal to rescue and donate approximately 30 million meals annually. Of that diverted food, 42 per cent was produce, 15 per cent was dairy foods, and bread was 11 per cent.

Second Harvest, Canada's largest food rescue charitable organization, has also named Sobeys its Partner of the Year award for the second year in recognition of the company's extraordinary dedication to rescuing surplus edible food in Canada, and the related positive community and environmental benefits realized. This recognition demonstrates the positive outcomes of the Empire/Second Harvest partnership on communities and on the environment. The Sobeys Retail Service Centre (RSC) in Whitby, Ontario was also awarded Second Harvest's Food Defender award in recognition of its exceptional and continued support.

"Our food rescue program in partnership with Second Harvest has tremendous and tangible impact by directly providing fresh and healthy food to those in our communities who currently rely on non-profit food charities to meet their family's grocery needs," said Kristi Lalach, SVP Legal and Sustainability, Empire Company Limited. "In the three years since the partnership formed, we have been so proud to tackle surplus food to this scale—and every day we are humbled by the enthusiasm of our food rescue ambassadors who make this possible in our stores."

"Empire is an incredible partner that continues to have a massive impact in communities across the country. Every single year, Sobeys breaks new records for surplus food donations." Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest said. "Their unwavering commitment and generosity in fighting food waste and food insecurity in Canada is inspiring to say the least. Millions of Canadians have greater access to food because of their work, millions of pounds of greenhouse gas have been averted from entering the atmosphere and Second Harvest is extremely grateful for this partnership."

Food is identified for rescue and diverted when there is an excess or otherwise cannot be sold. In addition to directly addressing food insecurity in Canada, Empire's food rescue program prevents 45.5 million KG of greenhouse gas emissions from release each year. All of Empire's grocery banners including Sobeys, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, IGA West, FreshCo, IGA Quebec, as well as its distribution centres and e-commerce business, Voilà, participate by identifying and diverting food suitable for donation. The Company's corporate objective is to reduce food waste in its national operations by 50 per cent by 2025.

About Second Harvest

Second Harvest is Canada's largest food rescue organization and is a global thought leader on perishable food redistribution. We work with thousands of food businesses from across the supply chain to redirect unsold surplus food to non-profit organizations that feed communities in every province and territory. 

By keeping perfectly edible food from ending up in landfill and redirecting it to the charitable sector, our work prevents harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere and improves access to nutrition for the millions of people in Canada experiencing food insecurity.  

In addition to our core work of food rescue, Second Harvest produces research on food loss and waste, provides education and training for the charitable food sector and has developed the Second Harvest Food Rescue App to facilitate direct donations from food businesses to local non-profits across Canada. 

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Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A) is a Canadian company headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

Empire's key businesses are food retailing, through wholly-owned subsidiary Sobeys Inc., and related real estate. With approximately $30.7 billion in annual sales and $16.6 billion in assets, Empire and its subsidiaries, franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 131,000 people.

Additional financial information relating to Empire, including the Company's Annual Information Form, can be found on the Company's website at or on SEDAR+ at .

SOURCE Empire Company Limited

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Sobeys Inc. is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited. Both companies have a wealth of business empowerments that continue in both branches of operation: food retailing and real estate. Follow the links below to find out more about these companies.

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