Food waste is one big challenge hindering sustainability in the food industry. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, we waste around 1.3 billion tonnes of food globally per year. That’s 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption. This has a significant impact on the atmosphere, releasing 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases. Not only that, trillions of gallons of water per year and 1.4 billion hectares of land are squandered due to lost produce. However, businesses committed to protecting our planet have been trying to solve the problem of food waste, whilst increasing their carbon handprint.
Four ways businesses are tackling food waste
1. By developing the supply chain
Food is often wasted at the beginning of the production process as a result of poor storage facilities. In fact, this causes the spoiling of around 45% of produce in developing countries. Nigerian enterprise Cold Hubs has been working to fix this problem. By using off-grid, solar powered refrigerators, they prolong the freshness of perishables and reduce post-harvest food wastage. Cold Hubs has the potential to save 80% more food whilst increasing profits for farmers by 25%.
2. By improving packaging
We have all considered throwing out a forgotten snack on the day of its use-by date. Thanks to the people at Mimica, we can know for sure whether our food is still fresh. Their new technology shows whether or not a product is fine to eat using a temperature sensitive indicator label. However, it’s not all about improving packaging. There are now many self-service shops across the world which have ditched packaging all-together. Even UK supermarket Waitrose is testing product refill stations in some stores.
3. By finding homes for unwanted food
Some food destined for the supermarket shelves never makes the cut. We often discard ugly and misshapen fruits and vegetables, despite their value. This value doesn’t go unnoticed by the people at Oddbox. By compiling packages of imperfect produce and delivering them to homes and offices, the UK based startup saves ‘wonky veg’ from going straight in the trash. But don’t worry if you’ve over ordered; use food waste app Olio to send the surplus on to others who would like to take it off your hands. So far, Olio has saved almost 2 million portions of food.
4. By creating new value
When businesses can’t re-home produce, there is a yet another way to give forgotten food items new life and make them profitable.
Rubies in the Rubble uses fresh fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste to make condiments. So far, the company has rescued 4,324,238 pieces of fruit and veg, which equates to 173,534 tonnes of produce. That offsets 164.2 tonnes of CO2, which is enough to drive a lorry 200,000 miles.
By reducing wasted produce, we can mitigate climate change. New concepts are also helping to curb global hunger and move towards a sustainable food system. Have these innovative business ideas inspired you to tackle the problem of food waste and increase your carbon handprint? Read more about our community here to find out how Fairforce can help.