- On April 27, 2021
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- food distribution, food waste, increase profit, reduce cost, reduce waste, Supply Chain, sustainability, warehouse distribution
The Food Waste Epidemic
With the population ever-growing and resources constantly being depleted, food waste is a big deal! The Food and Agriculture Association estimates that with the global population set to grow 30% by 2050, food production will need to increase by 60%. And as the global leader in food distribution waste, the United States discards 40% of food, reaching nearly 80 billion pounds of food waste each and every year! Imagine the impact of even a slight reduction in food waste! In fact, just a 25% of reduction can feed all of the world’s hungry.
So what’s the solution? We as individuals can and should compost, repurpose leftovers, avoid over-purchasing, embrace imperfect produce, etc. But with 75% of food waste occurring before it even reaches grocery stores, food distributors have an even greater responsibility to minimize food waste as much as possible! And the motivations for doing so are not purely altruistic. Reducing waste in food distribution has significant cost savings ranging from the cost of food purchased to the disposal costs. Food distributors must implement strategies to reduce waste and benefit not just the plant, but the company’s bottom line.
Why Is Food Wasted at the Distribution Level?
The most common type of food waste in food distribution waste is in inventory. This occurs when distributors have too much of a particular food product and the food spoils or is never consumed. This is often due to the inability to sell items and a mismatch between supply and demand. food waste also occurs due to improper storage methods, including during transportation from the supplier to the warehouse, to retail stores, or restaurants. Inventory waste has multiple costs to distributors, including the cost of the food products, the time and labor used to store, locate and manage items within the warehouse, storage costs, and costs of disposal.
How Can Food Manufacturers Manage To Reduce Food Distribution Waste?
The first step to reducing food waste in distribution is to identify exactly where waste is occurring and what the cause is. Having full visibility into your warehouse operations, where and how food is stored, what is purchased, and what is eventually thrown out, and why are all essential information required to minimize food waste.
Once you have identified the underlying causes of food waste within your warehouse operations, you can implement multiple strategies to reduce waste including:
- Supply and Demand Planning: Customer trends and data allows you to predict demand. You can then deduce exactly how much of a particular product you need to purchase to fulfill orders.
- Proper Warehouse Organization: An organized warehouse in which you know exactly where each product is means you will not need to purchase additional products because you cannot find something. It also reduces the chances that food will spoil due to improper storage methods.
- Implement the FIFO Method: The first-in-first-out method makes sure that you distribute the oldest items first, reducing waste due to spoilage.
Food distributors have a great responsibility to reduce waste and implement more sustainable business practices. This not only benefits the environment and general public but also improves your bottom line.
Learn more about how to reduce food distribution waste in warehouse distribution: https://softengine.com/resources/whitepaper/food-waste/
Learn how to reduce industrial waste in manufacturing in this whitepaper: https://softengine.com/resources/whitepaper/manufacturing-waste/