3 Ways to Reduce Food Waste in the Supply Chain

The UN Food and Agriculture organization estimates 30-40% of food production is lost before it reaches the market. While a great deal of this is lost in agriculture, there is a significant amount of food waste in the supply chain. In 2012, food waste costs in the EU alone were estimated at 143 billion euros.

Here are a few ways of reducing food waste in the supply chain:

1. Increasing hubs and decision points. Increasing hubs and decision points across the supply chain can have a positive effect on reducing food waste. The increasing number of hubs can have a negative effect on quality, but consolidation has a negative effect on shelf life.

Because at each hub a decision point can be installed, orders can be re-assigned according to the First Expired First Out strategy.

2. Intelligent containers. Technologies such as time temperature indicators, gas indicators, and biosensors are instrumental in reducing food waste across the supply chain. Gas indicators, for example, monitor the change of atmosphere within packaging typically signaling the presence or absence of oxygen or carbon dioxide.

3. Production location. Considering production location is one way of reducing time that food spends in the supply chain. Chilled salmon is a great example of this. Because of high fat content it is difficult to remove bones until 4 days after harvesting the salmon.

These first four days can be used to move the salmon to industrial production sites closer to consumers, resulting in longer shelf life when the product hits stores.

Reducing food waste across the supply chain represents a significant opportunity to increase revenue. Organizations should proactively look at ways to solve this problem across their supply chains.

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