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Ways industry can cut food waste

Source:FoodPacific Manufacturing Journal

Date Published:5/7/2020 10:05:29 AM

With Asia Pacific accounting for 25% of global food waste, it’s time to shape up  

MAJOR economies in Asia Pacific including China, Japan and South Korea contribute to 25% of the world’s food waste, while South and Southeast Asian regions together account for 22%, according to data and analytics company, GlobalData.

There are several ways and methods to use to prevent food loss, this we know. For packaging and end-product suppliers, nanotechnology is being considered to extend shelf life of packaged food. This is significant for APAC which accounted for 372.03 billion kilograms worth of packaged food in 2019, says GlobalData.

But unprecedented times pose market challenges. Albin George, Senior Consumer Analyst at GlobalData explains: “The market for packaged food in the APAC is expected to see a short-term decline given the uncertainty in the consumption patterns owing to COVID-19, which has resulted in production capacity and lead times constraints. Moving past the pandemic, resurgence is expected in the consumption of packaged food products in the region primarily owing to the increasing population, which is estimated to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050.

He adds, “Minimising food loss and waste, and economic utilisation of resources will be the major challenges that packaging and end-product suppliers will be tasked with. Nano-technology based packaging materials can extend the shelf life of food products further by acting as a more protective barrier against environmental factors.”

A challenge in tackling food loss and waste is the effective use of food resources by enabling transportation to regions with food scarcity. This, however, is not possible due to the low shelf-life of majority of food items, which is what manufactures/packaging suppliers are aiming to address by using nano-technology.

Nanotech enabled packaging can help companies in reducing permeability to oxygen and water vapor, and provide a better protective barrier against other environmental factors, consequently extending shelf lives even further. Intelligent packaging will also aid in tracking other key attributes of the food contents such as packaging integrity, temperature, or expiration date, during shipping and storage.

George concludes: “Food packaging is a more evolved field of nanotechnology application, which is evident through increasing demand of such technology-based solutions, where brands like NanoMax, Polyone, and Valentis are steadily gaining foothold.”

Software platform addresses scrapped inventory issues

Crisp is the developer of the first food demand forecasting platform designed to cut global food waste while increasing profitability for food businesses. Its software platform beta-tested by several brands in October 2019 is available to food industry suppliers, distributors and retailers.

Among the beta testers was Nounós Creamery. In their experience, the company saw 10% more orders being filled completely and it has reduced scrapped inventory by up to 80%. “We have also reduced the time spent on weekly forecasting from two hours to ten minutes, changing the way we manage our business,” says Senior Financial Officer, Ken Rotunno.  

“The UN estimates that the world loses about $400 billion worth of food before it even gets delivered to stores. The root cause of that inefficiency is slow and inaccurate data compounded by lack of collaboration within the food supply chain,” says Are Traasdahl, co-founder and CEO of Crisp. “With demand planners traditionally spending 15-20 hours per week in spreadsheets to develop a forecast that is quickly out-of-date, Crisp’s cloud-based platform is designed from the outset to enable customers to create a collaborative forecast in minutes.”

Going beyond -- reducing production waste

It’s not just about food waste, but about reducing production waste as well. At Euromed, the saw palmetto berries utilised for its herbal extracts aren’t simply thrown out. Instead the residue is further put to good use by the colour company, Archroma, for its textile dyes.

A supporter of ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program, Europe joined forces with Archroma which developed a technology to create biosynthetic textile dyes derived from natural waste in the agriculture and herbal industries. With this project, and the recent implementation of a sustainable reverse factoring for its “green” suppliers, Euromed brings value to the supply chain, making it more sustainable within responsible production methods.

Saw palmetto is vulnerable to commercial exploitation. To make full use of the plant and to close the usage circle of the intense labor involved, Euromed focused on ideas for upcycled products such as dyes from nature using the remaining residues of the fruit extraction.

Andrea Zangara, Scientific Marketing Manager at Euromed, says: “Companies are increasingly talking about ‘zero waste’ and finding alternative packaging, but there hasn’t been much attention so far to the role of waste in growing, harvesting and post-harvest handling in the botanical industry. This project shows an innovative upcycle approach towards waste, as it is important to address waste management at any level. With a good plan and determination, even small initiatives are able to contribute to promoting a stronger culture of environmental respect and sustainability.”



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