It’s a shocking statistic: Experts estimate 30 – 40% of all food produced globally ends up wasted.  Most of this waste happens either at a retailer or in the home of a consumer. It makes perfect sense that the longer the supply chain, the shorter window produce has in front of an end-user before it spoils.
Shops, restaurants, and households all discard and estimated 35% of perfectly edible and nutritional food. But these food wastes carry more costs than lost revenues for growers and retailers. Here in Whatcom County, almost half of the residents said they were ‘somewhat or very food insecure’ according to a recent survey.  With Federal assistance programs expiring, this percentage is likely to grow.
One suggested solution to the issue is to shorten the supply chain by moving the farm closer to the store. But how? Companies like BrightFarms are building urban greenhouses located very close to large urban markets. The proximity cuts down on travel times, saving waste and as well as emissions.
Ahold Delhaize is one of the world’s largest food retail groups, a leader in both supermarkets and eCommerce and a company at the forefront of sustainable retailing. They are a founding member of the 10x20x30 initiative. This calls for 10 of the world’s biggest food retailers to work with 20 of their key suppliers to halve food wastes by 2030. Retailers are in the best position to push producers to better and more sustainable practices through traceability, labeling, and consumer awareness campaigns.
Other organization such as Afresh are utilizing technologies such as artificial intelligence to connect retailers to suppliers. These technologies guide buyers to source more efficiently, reducing time in transit that leads to longer shelf lives, and ultimately less waste. The Farmlink Project looks to connect farms with surplus to outlets such as food banks, reducing waste and feeding those in need simultaneously.
While progress is being made, we still have a long way to go. New technologies are helping us get there, but it is the responsibility of all, including us end-users, to ensure we reduce our food wastes as much as possible. Here at Innotech, we like to think we’re helping solve the issue by making the growing and production steps of the supply chain more efficient, thereby reducing wastes. Get in touch if you’re looking for ways to increase efficiencies in your operation.