Food waste in the Supply Chain
What is food waste?
Food waste are fully edible foods and beverages that are likely to be destroyed / thrown away! There may be products with issues such as:
surplus, canceled orders, crowded stock, short best before date, damaged packaging, wrong labeling on packaging, fruit & vegetables that do not meet industry standards regarding size, shape, maturity or appearance of the skin. It may be a new flavor on the market that fails, campaigns or seasonal products that does not get sold and so on.
Either way, it is always about safe and fully eatable foods! Never garbage!
What drives food waste in the food industry
There are simple, cheap and well established ways of destroying food, whether it is edible or not. It costs companies just as much per sale hour to sell a first-class batch of food at full price, as organizing sales of second-hand parties or donations. Companies are also very protective of their brands and costumer promise, and do not want anything but perfection to reach the market. They also don't want the risk of cannibalization on their own market. There are many and strong reasons to keep on throwing away eatable food. The positive thing is that We can help companies to get around this.
Definition of food waste
Let's bury the idea that food waste is about bad, unsafe, possible rotten food that only is fit for biogas production. - It's a word associated with wrong the values. We have to separate food waste from garbage. The definition of food waste is
Fully edible foods that for some reason are risking being destroyed.
In addition, it could even be better foods because they may have a higher degree of maturity and therefore are packed of flavor, nutrition and provide a higher taste experience, but at the same time they are more sensitive to handling and have shorter shelf life, which can result in the choice of throwing it away. If the batch of food is partly damaged or rotten on a pallet, then everything is thrown away, because companies does not have the routine or capacity to sort the bad from the good.
Food waste is one of our times biggest challenges. It affects our entire ecosystem and contributes to huge economic losses as well as being a substantial contributor to global climate change and unnecessary negative environmental impact. Not to mention unfair allocation of resources.
Global data indicates that 1/3 of all we grow and produce becomes waste and that 60-80 % of this occurs before Retail. That means there are huge amounts of edible foods that never reach the consumer-oriented market. At the same time, it is said that we need to produce more food to feed the world's population. We say that with low-hanging fruit we can increase the proportion of food on the market only by streamlining trades and that's exactly what we are part of, - making surplus food available in a cost-effective manner. Together we can provide the world more food - without using more water, pesticides, fertilizers, transport and storing or using more land and sea!
Regulations of Best Before Date
It is important to distinguish between the labeling of due dates of food. Best Before Date VS Last Consumption Date. Best Before is a quality guarantee from the producer, which can be set relatively arbitrarily and only guarantees that the food has not changed significantly in either taste, fragrance or consistency from production day until Best Before Date.
However, it is fully legal to sell, donate and consume these foods after passed Best Before Date, if it can be considered fully edible. However, has the Best Before been passed with considerable time, local food inspectors may consider it to no longer be appropriate as food, so it still ha limits. Foods should not be remarked with new Best Before Date, on existing or new packaging.
Last Consumption Day is a whole different type of labeling, which is mainly used for fresh foods with increased risk, such as fresh minced meat, fresh poultry and fish. Here the rules are crystal clear and mean that the food is not legal to be sold, donated or cooked after this date. The only way to rescue a product close to passed expiry date is to freeze it - not later than the same day as the Last Consumption Day, and to add a label on the packaging that the food is frozen and must be cooked the same day as it is defrosted. Read more on the Swedish Food and Drug Administration's website on Best Before Date and Last Consumption Day here.
We focus on solutions and opportunities
We are focusing on finding solutions and seeing opportunities together with our customers.
The key to reduce food waste is to:
- Measure the waste
- Define what is edible and what is actually garbage
- Change processes that today generate large amounts of waste
- Start trading with these surplus batches
Foodloopz contributes to reduced costs for sales and donations of surplus food through our digital marketplace, and we also work in collaborations with other actors and companies to change processes or find tailor made solutions.