Food waste: the big deal

December 21, 2023

What is it, how does it occur?

Food waste is defined as losing or throwing away food intended for human consumption. It happens at every stage of the supply chain, from agricultural production to consumption, through processing, distribution, etc.

According to the FAO, food waste and loss is estimated at 1.6 billion tons per year worldwide, or almost 30% of total food production.

While developing countries are more affected by food losses at the farm gate, in middle and high income regions, food waste occurs mostly at the distribution, retail and consumer levels.

- The losses typically result from pest attack, destroyed crop, inappropriate transport temperatures,breakdowns, delays, poor communication...

- Waste is more the consequence of an imbalance between supply and demand: too much production, too much buying, poor anticipation, possibly also poor communication...

Is it serious?

The consequences of food waste are significant! They are environmental, societal and most certainly economic.

Currently, it is the equivalent of the production of 1.4 billion hectares of land (or 28% of agricultural land worldwide), which is being lost or thrown away, to say nothing of the massive waste of water and energy, and the release of 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year.

Moreover, throwing away food has become unacceptable in today’s society, where it is estimated that even in Europe, more than one person out of 10 is struggling to feed himself. In short, we are facing the prospect of a global food crisis!

And if starving people is not enough to bring attention to this problem, the direct economic consequences amount to hundreds of billions of dollars per year: unpaid production, disqualified products, logistical returns, destruction of goods... so,if we can address thus - we also have a lot to gain!

Solutions ?

Solutions are emerging everywhere: players in the supply chain are working daily to improve practices, mitigate risks and optimize transactions. These solutions include plant breeding, cultivation techniques, precision farming, temperature control, product processing and packaging, logistics flows, traceability... but also planning and communication technologies.

In order to reduce food loss and waste while sustainably improving agricultural productivity, the FAO has identified different levers. Today, Consentio's solutions not only havean impact on 4 of these levers, but also impact several links in the chain,thus providing a "global" solution, as opposed to the "local" solutions developed by many of the other players.

Where Consentio comes in!

One of Consentio’s major missions is the reduction of food waste. By offering a 'universal' solution across the supply chain, Consentio invites the different participants, from production to distribution, to manage their business interactions in a standardized and intelligent way. This will reduce delays, errors and misunderstandings.

And in concrete terms? Benoît Motais, Head of Consentio France, explains:

"We participate in reducing losses and waste from the point of harvest: by streamlining the information flows, so improving communication between the participants, and also by simplifying the exchange of goods. Products can be found faster and without risky and unnecessary loss of time at their point of sale or consumption.

-     Communication is improved because: all users speak the same language in the Consentio ecosystem, the participants transactional are smoothed, orders, complaints or returns are processed in real time. By letting the technology handle purely operational and commercial transactions, users save a considerable amount of time in their daily work so they can focus on developing the business, product ranges and partnerships.

-     In terms of trade, Consentio offers a simplified access to a wider, more relevant and more local range of produce. Consentio further improves the transparency of product information, product availability and traceability, and gives the ability to process all orders intelligently and efficiently with just a few clicks, regardless of their format, which drastically reduces the number of errors."

Finally, by speeding up the routing and rotation of products at the point of sale, Consentio estimates that it can reduce losses and waste by up to 25% (reference: Consentio Case Studies). By streamlining and shortening the ‘produce ordering cycle’ we are ensuring that fresher produce is more quickly available to the consumer, and fresher products are more attractive, better tasting and last longer which is a ‘win’ for everyone.

Benoît concludes: "We obviously welcome all the waste reduction initiatives that are being locally developed, however, the real difference will come from optimization and global digitalization of the information flows, both upstream and downstream, as this single initiative will benefit the whole supply chain as well as the consumer."

Consentio’s technology and proven solutions directly impacts 4 of the 7 ‘levers’ to reducing food loss and waste.

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