Six Ways to Reduce Food Waste in the Restaurant Supply Chain | modern restaurant management

About a third of all the food harvested and produced in the world is wasted. It’s a sobering statistic, especially with so many people going hungry around the world.

But new technological innovations are helping businesses reduce food waste so they can increase their bottom line and put food to good use before it ends up in the local landfill. From smart thermostats to supply chain analysis, new startups and venture capitalists are focusing on one of the world’s biggest problems.

Here are some of the ways the food industry is reducing food waste:

Big Data and food waste analysis

Every food product has an expiration date. With the new food analysis software, companies can monitor the freshness of their products based on the information they put into the system. The software will alert supply chain managers when some of their products are going bad, so they can find other uses for them and avoid throwing them in the trash.

The software also keeps tabs on how much food a business throws away. Based on this information, the company can use the software to find ways to reduce this waste, whether that means picking the apple from the tree several hours later or changing the storage conditions of the product. . Keeping a record of all this food waste helps supply chain managers make more informed decisions when moving their products across the country or around the world.

Donations

With food waste analysis tools at their disposal, business owners can spot food that is going to go to waste before it goes bad. If a company finds that some of its products are going bad before it has a chance to sell them to consumers, it can arrange for a food donation to a local food bank or homeless shelter.

Without these analytical tools, many companies may not have the wherewithal to facilitate these kinds of donations until the food has already spoiled. But if the supply chain manager knows that the company’s products are going to expire in the next few days, he can pass those items on to the people who really need them instead of just throwing them in the trash.

Smart packaging

Lack of temperature control is one of the main reasons why so much food is wasted around the world. While companies invest in temperature-controlled packaging to ensure products and other refrigerated items don’t spoil in transit, there’s always a chance the delivery truck could get stuck in traffic or the delivery person leave the door open. just a little too long. When the truck finally arrives, much of the temperature-sensitive food has already been wasted.

But with so-called smart packaging, each temperature-sensitive item or reusable crate will come with a smart thermostat that can communicate the temperature of the product in real time. Business owners and supply chain managers can monitor the temperature of their items to make sure they don’t spoil or get lost. But it also means retailers don’t have to second-guess themselves when it comes to ensuring food is fresh. About 90% of food is thrown away too soon. Instead of discarding items prematurely, store owners can have a record of the temperature of the product as it travels to the consumer.

Biotechnology for product preservation

New startups like Apeel Sciences and Hazel Technologies are finding ways to delay the expiration date of certain products. Apeel has gained wide recognition in the market – and over one hundred million dollars in funding – for its invisible product coating that slows the rate of water evaporation, causing products to deteriorate in the first place, while allowing a natural exchange of gases, which gives the flavor of the product. This coating is completely edible, so consumers may pick up a coated apple that has survived well past its original best before date without even realizing it.

Hazel Technologies takes a different approach to the problem. They’ve created a small package that sits in food-grade containers as it travels through the supply chain. The package omits steam which delays the process of produce breakdown, so fruits and vegetables will stay ripe long after reaching the shelf.

Detailed Product Imaging

Until now, the food industry had two ways to determine if a product was still ripe: cut it or mash it. Both options will likely ruin the product and prevent the company from selling it to the public, making this process counterproductive. But new product imaging techniques are changing this catch-22. New startup innovations can examine the maturity of a product without even touching it, so the product will still be intact. Companies can also use these imaging devices to monitor the freshness of their products throughout the supply chain, so they can prioritize certain products and get them on the shelves as soon as possible.

General supply chain analysis

The more a company understands its supply chain, the more it can do to prevent food waste. With supply chain analytics, companies can monitor supply and demand trends, so they know when to move their products and where. Instead of keeping an abundance of food in stock for surges in demand, supply chain managers can react to changes in demand in real time, so they can get their shipments to where they are. most needed. Keeping the supply chain nimble and flexible helps businesses stay alert as consumers adjust their buying habits.

Take the first step towards reducing food waste

Food waste remains a major concern around the world. If the food industry wants to limit its wasteful practices, businesses large and small will need to take advantage of these new technology trends. From keeping food fresh for as long as possible to keeping up with changing consumer demand, these supply chain management devices and techniques help companies make more informed business decisions when ‘they move their products from the field to the consumers.

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