Tackling food waste with technology
By John Dillon, VP Marketing Superfy
Did you know that globally, more than 25% of food produced is wasted? Food waste is also a significant contributor to climate change. It is estimated that food waste generates about 8% to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions [Source: dcceew]. Reducing food waste is therefore an effective climate action – but knowing how to begin can be difficult.
If we can measure it – we can fix it
With everything, data is king – if we can measure it, we can fix it, or at least try to reduce it. Let’s look at an example within an organisation that provides free breakfast for its employees.
This employer orders 150 croissants a day, but every day, between 40-50 are left – and now they’re to be thrown away. If the employer continues to measure this and slowly reduce the number of croissants they order daily, they will directly be reducing their food waste – and also their costs. Looking at this on a larger scale, you would need to apply the same premise: measure, and reduce/tweak where necessary.
How are countries addressing this?
A great example is “Impact Canada” which is funding a scheme to look for innovative ideas to reduce their food waste. The scheme has 20 million CAD invested, and encourages entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors to prospect plans that can help Canada as a whole to improve its relationship with food waste.
With over 50% of food wasted a year in Canada, they are committed to making a change and reducing this percentage.
The scheme is split into four different “streams” that individuals can apply to:
Challenge Stream A: Business models that prevent food waste
Challenge Stream B: Business models that divert food waste, food by-products and/or surplus food
Challenge Stream C: Technologies that Extend the Life of Food
Challenge Stream D: Technologies that Transform Food Waste
Another country that is actively tackling food waste is Norway – after the Norwegian government signed an agreement to halve their food waste by 2030. Part of this is educating grocery stores and citizens on how to understand “use by” and “best before” dates.
Instead of food being wasted, many grocery stores in Norway now have donation programmes or discounted food, and encourage consumers to take advantage of such discounts. They even have a grocery store chain that sells food nearing or past its best before dates! [Foodhero]
What technology can be useful?
There can be a number of technologies that can be useful to monitor food waste including:
These can be used to measure the weight of food waste being produced or discarded, allowing businesses and organizations to track their food waste over time and identify areas for improvement.
RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags
These tags can be attached to food items and used to track their movement through the supply chain, allowing businesses and organizations to identify where food waste is occurring and why.
These can be used to scan the barcodes of food items and track their movement through the supply chain, allowing businesses and organizations to identify where food waste is occurring and why.
These can be used to monitor temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors that can affect the shelf life of food, allowing businesses and organizations to identify food waste before it occurs.
These can be used to monitor food waste in real-time, allowing businesses and organizations to identify areas for improvement and take immediate action to reduce food waste.
Waste tracking software
This type of software can be used to track and analyze food waste data, allowing businesses and organizations to identify patterns and trends in their food waste and develop strategies to reduce it.
For more information on Superfy waste management solutions, visit our website.