Innovation – The Key to Reducing Global Food Waste

Who doesn’t remember growing up and being told by their parents to finish their food because there are starving children in Africa? 

Now imagine that wasted food on your plate multiplied by billions of people around the world! 

A report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) calculates that the amount of food wasted each year will triple by 2030, “When 2.1 billion tons will either be lost or thrown away, equivalent to 66 tons per second.” 

Food wastage appears to be higher in developed countries, while on the other hand, there are an estimated 842 million people in developing countries experiencing chronic hunger. 

These numbers are clearly distressing. 

According to Oxfam, the current COVID-19 pandemic has deepened the hunger crisis and, “by the end of the year, 12,000 people per day could die from hunger, potentially more than will die from the disease itself.” 

Based on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) research, food waste is defined as food that is fit for consumption but thrown out by choice or because it has been left to spoil or expire, with ‘food’ referring to “whether processed, semi-processed, or raw edible products going to human consumption.” 

The fact that food wastage is understood as a mounting, yet avoidable, challenge has driven the United Nations to act quickly and effectively by enacting various standards and goals. 

One such goal is to reduce global food waste by 50% in the next decade. By 2030, the hope is to see far less food waste on the retail and consumer, production, supply chain, and post-harvest levels. As food loss occurs at each stage of the global food chain, from production to consumption. 

It is for these reasons that food waste management has become a key priority, including all activities that are related to avoiding, reducing, or recycling waste throughout the production and consumption chain. 

There are many innovative solutions that have entered the market in recent years to reduce waste at the beginning and end of the food cycles. However, it is time to look deeper at the potential to solve the waste in the middle – primarily across the supply chain. 

 

There are companies like Wasteless that lets supermarkets and online grocery stores offer differentiated pricing for food products according to their expiration dates. The company developed an AI-powered dynamic pricing algorithm that tracks inventory and sales and updates prices in real-time.

Lumitics developed a management solution that allows catering focused businesses to track their food waste seamlessly without any changes to the current kitchen workflow, simply by turning the waste into readable data and suggestions for production optimization. 

Sufresca develops innovative edible coatings for fruits and vegetables that dramatically extend shelf life and reduce food waste of fresh products under changing conditions, while keeping them fresh from field to fork. The company’s coatings are tailored for each product item using specific liquid formulations suitable for both traditional and organic agriculture..

TripleW is developing a sustainable solution, an industrial process for the production of biodegradable bioplastic from waste and presenting a circular waste management solution for a sustainable bioeconomic.

When these tactics are embraced by large corporations, by setting high standards for waste reduction, and acknowledgment that responsibility can and must be taken,  this colossal problem can be dramatically reduced.

Today, over 30 of the world’s 50 largest food companies set specific food loss and waste reduction targets including Kellogg Company, Tesco, Walmart, Nestlé and Unilever. These developments represent the beginning of a movement towards more efficient and sustainable food supply chains. The need for solutions and sustainable food production to the food wastage and the challenges it presents to us will increase greatly in the coming years we’re eager to see how innovation will reshape this domain, the same way it created a new standard and possibilities for so many others.

© Cockpit 2020 | Designed and Developed by Webnoise