Connecting the supply chain for a reduction in food waste

The food waste landscape 

One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tonnes per year, at a global cost to the economy of $940bn. As impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic sends ripples through the global supply chain, producers, retailers, and consumers are seeking more advanced and proactive methods to improve product quality and reduce systemwide food waste. 

Embracing technology and digitising the agri-food supply chain, is a key method to reducing wasteful practices. Some of the practices in the supply chain that contribute to waste are by long transport distances, with indirect supply chains decreasing the shelf life of goods, or duplication of data meaning limited resource time is spent in less proactive ways.

By mitigating wasteful practices you actively tackle food waste and work towards achieving other objectives including improving food security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, lowering pressure on water and land resources and increase productivity and economic growth – helping to ensure there’s enough resource to sustainably support the future global population.

Digitising the supply chain

In today’s market, consumer demands and lowering trust in the industry are driving the need for supply chain efficiencies to address expectations of improved sustainability and security of the food we consume.

Keeping up with these demands requires insight into the journey your products go through as part of the supply chain. Small inefficiencies can add up and lead to increased waste during production, transport and with the end consumer.

According to a study by Sapio, only 29% of manufacturers admit to truly understanding what having a Digital Supply Chain Network is, with ‘lack of information visibility’ being cited as the biggest challenge for adoption.

How connecting the supply chain can help -

As technology evolves, it has the potential to create disruption across the food value chain. A shift from transparency for compliance to radical transparency for growth creates new opportunities to provide insights that were previously unachievable through traditional means of data sharing.

  • Build direct supply chains - understanding the origins of your product gives you the opportunity to source responsibly and reduce the length of chains, meaning more shelf life for end-market customers.
  • Reduce duplication of data - simplify the capture of data and due diligence information to reinvest time proactively in the supply chain.
  • Freeing up internal space – by removing the need to store files locally you reduce the need for physical or digital storage space.

Creating additional value

Connecting the supply chain digitally allows you to mitigate waste in addition to empowering businesses to drive their own profitability by improving processes and efficiencies. Enabling collaboration between various stakeholders and being able to access the right information, at the right time, from anywhere in the supply chain is key to reaping the benefits of a digital supply chain for both your business and your customer.

Aaron Day, Technical Sales Manager at Muddy Boots, explains – ‘When discussing waste in the industry, first considerations are around food loss and waste, however, when considering the wider subject of waste. There are other losses business can recuperate such as time for resources which is often limited or access to data that cannot be collated without digital systems. Through digitising your supply chain practices you can have greater visibility and therefore, control to mitigate areas of waste.’

 

References – supplychaindigital/three-ways-reduce-food-waste-within-supply-chain, zetes.com/are-manufacturers-ready-for-industry-40, Can the digitalization of the supply chain reduce global food waste? - Packaging Europe

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Supply Chain Management