Friday, June 02, 2017

Reducing Food Waste Across The Supply Chain

Image Credit: Go Supply Chain.

One of the big issues when it comes to the transport of food is waste. Around a third of all food produced for consumption by humans is wasted and in 2012 costs regarding food waste in the EU alone were estimated at 143 billion euros.

There's obviously a huge business case for reducing food waste, but with one in nine people in the world suffering from chronic undernourishment (according to UN estimates) and enough food production to feed everyone, this is a huge humanitarian issue too.

Most of the information you will find on reducing food waste focuses specifically on the waste of food by consumers and in retail. There is nowhere near the same amount of information on food waste in the supply chain, yet significant reductions can be made here and it represents a massive opportunity for the companies involved to increase revenue.

There are several innovative ways of reducing food waste in the supply chain, such as biosensors. These detect substances such as pathogens and are capable of transmitting that information in a quantifiable manner. Technologies like this make it possible to monitor where problems are occurring and put in solutions to solve those problems.

Within the cocoa industry, solar driers (simple structures that are designed to dry the beans) are used at the farms to dry the beans within the correct moisture level for transport. This allows the farmer to see less beans rejected and a better price for his crop.

Focusing on cost isn't always the best solution. A case study showed Barleans managed to increase turnover of organic oils by 40% at the end of the 1990s. They did this by pressing the oil on demand resulting in a fresher product and delivering by express. This resulted in a lower shelf life, and competitors could not compete because their distribution process took too long.

Solving problems in the supply chain can increase revenue and also helps ensure that food is getting to hungry mouths. It's a win-win!

Written by Gavin Parnell at Go Supply Chain

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