The Drive To Reduce Food Waste In Food & Beverage Manufacturing
Are we doing enough?
Food and beverage manufacturing managers are at the centre of the food supply chain and are positioned to lead global efforts to reduce food loss. We explore food and beverage professionals' role in reducing food waste and why it matters for your career!
So we all know the stats; food waste is a huge problem. But let’s explore just how big the problem truly is!
- More than two billion tons of food is wasted every year globally, and a ⅓ of all food never gets eaten. (wfp.org)
- That is a trillion dollars’ worth of food wasted annually (Mckinsey)
- Food waste accounts for approximately 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions (www.fao.org)
- An estimated 20% (or 11 million tonnes) of all the food produced in Canada annually becomes avoidable food loss or waste (VCMI, 2019).
- About half the wastage happens before hitting retailers' stores, which means it gets wasted in the processing journey from farm to retail, aka the food and beverage processing industry.
Aside from affecting the environment, filling landfills, and producing harmful greenhouse gases, food security is also at risk. So the economy and people’s lives are literally at stake!
The Canadian government is committed to the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses” by 2030.
Reducing food waste in the food and beverage manufacturing industry will increase profit margins, decrease rising food costs, and can mitigate climate change. As a food and beverage manufacturing professional, innovations and technology present opportunities to learn and grow in your career that will future-proof your skills for the future.
(Not convinced? See our previous blog highlighting the changing skills needed for 2023 and beyond).
3 must-watch food waste trends for food and beverage professionals
1. R&D researchers using bio-products and by-products to reduce food waste
Food scientists and researchers globally are finding ways to use agricultural by-products to create nutritional and functional products. AINIA, the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, and Productos Lácteos Romar are testing this through their latest research project to turn citrus, watermelon, and kaki waste into functional food items.
If the project becomes viable, the results will make it possible, for example, to reduce reliance on gelatin of animal origin to make various food products (Food Navigator).
Food and beverage manufacturers are also creating new sustainably grown plant-based bioproducts. Canadian food-tech company, Mara Renewables Corporation, is also showing innovation in food wastage with its sustainably-grown algae-based bio-products extracted from marine plant life.
2. Supply chain food recycling initiatives
Inaccurate forecasting and inefficiencies across the supply chain often cause food waste. Technology such as AI provides data-driven insights that limit overbuying and food waste.
These Insights can increase operational efficiency reducing wastage. Supply chain managers have the massive task of working with suppliers across the food or beverage production cycle to find more efficient and less wasteful ways.
3. Food safety innovations to improve shelf-life
The regulations surrounding shelf-life and confusion regarding food safety terminology often lead to food waste. But innovations open opportunities for extended shelf-life with new food processing techniques (from LED light and heat processing to cold plasma treatment), even a look at new product innovation.
Chicago-based Hazel Technologies created a sachet that uses ethylene to control the ageing process of fresh products and extend their shelf life. Apeel is another company leading innovation with sprays made from plant matter that slow the spoiling process and reduce waste.
Emerging technologies create increased opportunities to reduce food waste, giving food and beverage managers a unique opportunity to innovate. If you are looking to explore new opportunities, check out QTalent.
QTalent is a talent discovery platform that allows applying at the most innovative food and beverage manufacturers in Canada at the click of a button.
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