How to Improve Product Development and Marketing to Reduce Food Waste
According to the United Nations, food waste represents the largest single source of water misuse worldwide. It represents a significant waste of fresh and groundwater, as three times the volume of Lake Geneva is wasted annually, producing food that won’t be eaten. For instance, one kilogram of beef wastes more than 50,000 litres of water while one glass of milk goes down the drain. The waste is even more significant when not produced in a food-waste-free facility.
Human error is the leading cause of food waste.
The United States creates a large proportion of the world’s food waste, generating about 103 million tons in 2018. This amount is equal to more than twice the volume of Lake Geneva. One kilogram of beef can waste 50,000 litres of water, while a glass of milk down the drain can waste a thousand litres. This is also equivalent to 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases – which will accelerate the effects of climate change.
Moreover, food waste is the third-largest contributor to greenhouse gases globally. In addition to human error, the other two leading causes of food waste include the lack of proper management, lack of training and inadequate infrastructure. These factors combined lead to unappealing foods, which are ultimately discarded. The good news is that human error can be avoided. With a little planning and preparation, you can avoid wasteful food.
The study was conducted at 47 food manufacturing facilities in Belgium and found that human error accounted for more than 10% of food loss. Moreover, human error contributes to the majority of food waste. In industrialised nations, a typical food product is handled at least 33 times before reaching the consumer. The product undergoes different steps during that process: from harvesting to storage, from preparation to serving. It may be discarded even before it reaches its expiry date.
Additionally, many people may buy food in bulk, resulting in overshopping. It is estimated that the amount of food waste in industrialised countries is equal to the entire net production of SSA countries. Improve product development A growing number of companies are experimenting with innovative ways to eliminate their food waste. Food donation plans are common, and some companies have started commercial composting programs.
But what does it take to improve product development for food waste?
We’ll explore three strategies to improve food waste management in the following paragraphs. The first is to focus on one specific problem area, such as food loss or household waste. Then, we’ll consider the broader issue of food waste in the food supply chain. Ineffective product management processes contribute to food waste throughout the supply chain. Food loss accounts for approximately 20 per cent of unsold food in the retail sector.
Companies responsible for food waste generally bear the costs associated with it. Still, the costs can ultimately be passed down to other stakeholders at higher prices, such as the consumer. Food waste can be prevented by improving measurement and process efficiency. Similarly, food losses are minimised when companies work with JIT production and delivery. Sustainable food waste management solutions are necessary to address the challenges of the global food crisis.
They must exploit the biological and economic potential of biomaterials and contribute to creating sustainable solutions. Zero waste is an ideal way to use waste as raw material for new products, thereby contributing to the realisation of the Post 2015 Agenda and Millennium Development Goals. Zero waste also offers a range of economic, social and environmental benefits. Moreover, it can contribute directly to reducing global hunger and poverty.
Improve shopping/ordering Retailers can improve their grocery practices to reduce food waste.
A four-pronged strategy focuses on improving the entire food supply chain, from the growing and processing of ingredients to the sale and consumption of that food. Ultimately, retailers can reduce food waste in their operations and customers by creating a strong relationship with their customers and suppliers. And the impact of implementing these strategies can spill over into other sectors. For example, if you live in a city, you can use the power of crowdsourcing to gather ideas from consumers about ways to improve shopping and ordering processes.
For example, a grocery chain could create a program to allow customers to pay only for items they consume, which could significantly reduce the amount of wasted food. Another method is introducing more grocery stores. Adding three or four markets within a 10-square-kilometre area could reduce food waste by six to nine per cent. Improve marketing Several factors influence consumer behaviour and could be used to improve marketing to reduce food waste.
The most promising insight comes from consumer behaviour research, which emphasises the role of multiple factors in creating food waste. To improve marketing to reduce food waste, a marketing strategy should consider how consumers will change their behaviour and motivation.
Here are some possible strategies. a. Increase consumer awareness and understanding b. Improve marketing to reduce food waste by reducing portion sizes. This strategy would help consumers reduce food waste, but it would also reduce food overbuying and on-shelf expiration. Labels should also give customers information on storage methods, best-before dates, and reducing food waste. The World Resources Institute has developed a standard for reporting and accounting for food waste.
Further, it could also influence retailers to change the packaging of their products. c. Promote waste-reducing products through new channels. One effective method is to engage consumers in a crowdsourcing campaign, such as Kroger’s Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative. Through this strategy, consumers will be able to provide feedback and ideas for improving food waste and hunger prevention.
This approach could lead to more sustainable retail practices and help reduce food waste if successful. The four-pronged strategy should help retailers manage challenges, strengthen relationships with food suppliers, and connect with customers in new ways. Improve labelling New laws could help curb food waste. A new bill, the Food Date Labeling Act, would clarify federal law on food donation. This bill could help curb food waste by better supporting the efforts of good Samaritans to rescue food from the garbage.
It also would help to fund education campaigns and strengthen good Samaritan laws. However, food labels still don’t consider different storage conditions, such as cold weather. To improve food labelling, a federal bill has been introduced, but each state’s rules vary. Currently, forty-three states have their own rules. Many states require manufacturers and retailers to post the “use by” date, while seven do not have any rules.
This confusion results in tons of wasted food. Manufacturers include the date to inform retailers when to remove a product from the shelves, but this is useless once the consumer has bought it. To reduce food waste and encourage people to use what they buy, manufacturers are implementing policies that will help consumers make more informed choices. Since 2011, the number of products with multiple-date labels has decreased by 3%. Additionally, hard cheeses are now labelled with “best before” instead of “use by” dates, which gives consumers more time to consume the products.
Other products are labelled with the snowflake logo to indicate suitable for freezing. Improve cooking methods: Many food wastes occurs before it reaches the consumer. In the United States, more than £160 billion worth of food is thrown out each year, and nearly 40 million tons of it end up in landfills. One-third of residential trash is composed of organic matter, including food scraps. Using zero-waste cooking techniques, these scraps can be turned into compost and used as organic fertiliser in the garden.
Learn more about the causes of food loss and how to limit it in your kitchen.
The EPA and USDA have established the Food Recovery Hierarchy to help chefs identify and improve cooking methods to limit food loss. You can also get involved with government programs and initiatives that support sustainable food production and reduce food waste. For example, you can sign up as a Food Recovery Challenge Champion or get involved in the Culinary Vegetable Institute. This organisation fosters a unique relationship between farmers and chefs.
Improve disposal methods.
There are many benefits of improving disposal methods for food waste. For example, the categorisation process allows for tailored waste management alternatives, such as composting and anaerobic digestion. Food waste is categorised as unusable, potentially avoidable or edible depending on the stage of the supply chain it is created. Different authors have classified household food waste as uncooked, packaged, or opened. The economic value of food is considered in 77% of cases.
Waste-related embodied costs are assessed in 15% of cases. Several proposed measures also consider the environmental savings from avoided disposal, but only four were implemented. Consequently, they may not be effective in all situations. Nevertheless, this research shows that several effective measures can reduce food waste. A literature review will identify which ones are worth implementing to reduce waste. In addition to composting, other sustainable disposal methods for food waste include the sink and outdoor waste collection.
In this process, food waste decomposes and produces fertiliser. Food waste should be mixed with newspaper or cardboard to balance acidity and heat to promote the decomposition process. Composting also requires oxygen. As compost is an aerobic process, it must have ample oxygen. Alternate layers of cardboard and soil should be used to allow air to circulate throughout the compost heap. Turning compost every two days will also encourage airflow.
Marketing to Reduce Food Waste – Learn more about UK business waste statistics here
Other useful links from our Commercial Waste Centre
The Benefits of Dry Mixed Recycling
Looking After Your Business Bins
Commercial Skip Hire – How to Find a Cheap Deal
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