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Maple Leaf Foods challenges Canadians to disconnect during dinner on Tuesday, November 7

Unique ‘Disconnected Dinner Challenge’ spotlights CO2 impact of screens during dinnertime and calls upon Canadians to step up for sustainability during day of collective action

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 31, 2023 /CNW/ – To celebrate four years of maintaining carbon neutrality, Maple Leaf Foods Inc (TSX: MFI), Canada’s leading protein producer and champion of sustainability, is issuing a unique challenge to Canadians; a Disconnected Dinner.

Little Changes Day infographic
Maple Leaf Foods’ Little Changes Day is a time for collective action to protect the planet for future generations.

Tuesday, November 7 marks Maple Leaf Foods’ second annual Little Changes Day – a time for collective action to protect the planet for future generations. The company’s Disconnected Dinner Challenge calls upon Canadians to step up for sustainability and make little changes that can have a big impact on the environment.

Disconnected Dinner Challenge: The details

Recent research1 reveals that almost half of Canadian families (48 per cent) often watch TV while eating dinner. The common practice taking place in approximately 5 million Canadian households is one example of electricity generation that seems minimal, but collectively creates carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The Disconnected Dinner Challenge promotes a dinnertime disconnected from screens that will reduce carbon emissions and help friends and family to reconnect with one another.

Breaking away from the TV screen for a brief period is an example of a little change that can have a big impact on the environment. It would take planting trees across more than 50 hockey rinks to offset the amount of CO2 generated by just one hour of TV watching by Canadian families.

“Our research shows that 86 per cent of Canadian parents say they’d like to spend more quality time away from screens and 18 per cent report that at least one family member is looking at a screen every meal,” says Joe McMahan, Vice President, Sustainability and Shared Value at Maple Leaf Foods. “Maple Leaf Foods is committed to leading the charge in eco-friendly practices and to sharing ways we can come together to make a collective difference. Taking part in this challenge is just one way that families can help the planet while placing the focus on each other,” he adds.

Although the challenge focuses on TV-loving families, being conscious of disconnecting while dining is something we can all embrace in our daily lives, whether taking a break from scrolling through social media while on your lunchbreak or putting away your phone while visiting with friends or loved ones. Our wellbeing and the environment both stand to benefit. Research suggests that using this saved time to connect through conversation or to embrace nature can improve creativity, focus and memory.

Six tips to help families disconnect to reconnect

In the lead up to Little Changes Day, radio and TV personality, Taylor Kaye, will be raising awareness and sharing tips for how to participate in the Disconnected Dinner Challenge through traditional and social media.

“As a mom, I’ve witnessed firsthand how quickly children grow up. Mealtime moments are where lifelong connections are made and I hope Canadian families are inspired to take part on Little Changes Day. I am proud to be championing the Disconnected Dinner Challenge and to partner with Maple Leaf Foods whose eco-friendly thinking will connect families while making a difference to our planet,” says Ms. Kaye.

Maple Leaf Foods has produced an infographic featuring six tips to help families disconnect to reconnect during mealtime:

  1. Engage little helpers: Do your kids use screen time while you cook? Engage the whole family in meal making by giving everyone a role – from Fridge Finder to Produce Washer – and a chance to participate ahead of mealtime! 
  2. Make the table a feature: The kids will love to set a special dinner table. Personalize place settings with colourful reusable napkins. Create atmosphere by disconnecting lights and screens and opting for candles instead.
  3. Say ‘no’ to notifications: Out of sight, out of mind! Get everyone to pop their phone into a basket and tuck it away during the Disconnected Dinner Challenge. Without distraction, it will be easier to connect through conversation.
  4. Create a conversation jar: Is your TV on as background entertainment? Turn it off!  Create a conversation jar and get everyone to contribute questions in advance. Take turns starting up a table topic.
  5. Embrace the eco-friendly: ‘Upcook’ leftovers for a fuss-free dinner that reduces food waste. Look for products made by carbon neutral companies when grocery shopping. Save water by washing all the dishes at once and using your dishwasher on an eco-friendly setting.
  6. Bond beyond dinner time: Leave your screens off after dinner. Play a retro game from your childhood or start a family project, such as a puzzle!

Every day is Earth Day at Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods is at the forefront of tackling the climate crisis and its commitment to environmental sustainability extends well beyond its carbon neutral anniversary and Little Changes Day initiatives. The company’s Hamilton plant recently achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, demonstrating its unwavering dedication to eco-friendly operations. Furthermore, this spring, Maple Leaf Foods’ Corporate Central Laboratory, situated in Puslinch, Ontario, earned the prestigious ‘Green’ Status in the My Green Lab (MGL) Certification Program. Notably, this marks the first certification of its kind awarded to a laboratory in Canada and represents the highest level of recognition from the international non-profit organization.

These accomplishments are just two examples of Maple Leaf Foods’ ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future, evident in its science-based green house gas reduction targets and initiatives within its operations and within its supply chain that aim to raise the bar for a better food industry and beyond.

Maple Leaf Foods encourages all Canadians to turn off their TVs and participate in the Disconnected Dinner Challenge on November 7 to celebrate the second annual Little Changes Day. Canadians are invited to share their plans to disconnect by tagging @MapleLeafFoods and using #DisconnectedDinner.

To learn more about Maple Leaf Foods’ commitment to environmental sustainability, visit

About Maple Leaf Foods

Maple Leaf Foods is a carbon neutral company with a vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth, responsibly producing food products under leading brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders® Country Naturals®, Mina®, Greenfield Natural Meat Co. ®, Lightlife® and Field Roast™. The Company employs approximately 14,000 people and does business primarily in Canada, the U.S. and Asia. The Company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MFI).

1About this Study: These are the findings of a study commissioned by Maple Leaf Foods among a nationally representative sample of 1508 Canadians who are members of the online Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. For comparison purposes only, a sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. The study was conducted in English and French on January 27, 2023.

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