Letter to the editor

The food industry’s waste is ‘imprudent' and ‘unnecessary’

By Mikko Kärkkäinen

- Last updated on GMT

250,000t of food is wasted in the grocery supply chain each year
250,000t of food is wasted in the grocery supply chain each year

Related tags: Waste, Investment, Supply chain management

Sir,The call for tougher food waste regulations comes as a great welcome (see article 'Boost product life to cut 250,000t of food waste').

At its most fundamental, the fact that 30–50% of all food is wasted, and that half of this wastage is down to inefficiencies within the food industry, is, quite frankly, imprudent and unnecessary.

Better forecasting and stock planning is the key to better economics, better ecology and improved customer service.

Less spoiled or wasted food is also better for the environment and less spoilage through better planning invariably means fresher goods for consumers.

Reduce prices

Savings will help both retailers’ and manufacturers’ bottom lines and can help to reduce prices later to help consumers.

All this can be readily achieved through a combination of the latest supply chain management technology and improved processes around data gathering, control and transparency.

The financial impact for food retailers and wholesalers is massive. For a food retailer or wholesaler that throws away goods worth 25% of its turnover each year, the possibility of cutting this wastage by 15–40% is significant, as the saving is directly visible in the company’s profit and loss.

Spoilage reduction

And, on a wider scale, the estimated spoilage reduction that could be achieved through the application of better data and technology in the EU would be a significant amount and equal to the annual food consumption of Canada.

This spoilage reduction would also reduce carbon emissions by 22–60Mt a year, which is over 10% of the EU’s 2020 target (of achieving zero food waste to landfill by 2020).

It is inexcusable for the food industry to accept the current levels of wastage the technology and processes are readily available, and the return on investment for the sector is too compelling to ignore on many fronts.

Mikko Kärkkäinen

Group chief executive

Relex Solutions

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1 comment

Food Waste Reduction

Posted by Rod Averbuch,

Food waste is a lose-lose situation for the environment, the struggling families in today’s tough economy and for the food retailers.
The new open GS1 DataBar standard enables new food waste reduction applications that offer relevant, environmentally friendly and personalized fresh food deals.
An example of such an application is the “End Grocery Waste” App. This GS1 DataBar based application encourages efficient consumer shopping behavior that maximizes grocery retailer revenue, makes fresh food affordable for all families and effectively reduces the global carbon footprint.

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