Food loss and food waste is a growing concern and it has become a societal issue worldwide. The numbers are staggering; according to the Huffington Post somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of all food produced in the world is thrown away. This massive food loss occurs at all levels throughout the supply and value chain.
Most obvious, we see it at the consumer level, where consumers encouraged by retailer promotions, special discount offers (BOGO), and bulk package size, overbuy. Then before they know it, expiring best before dates time out their food purchase, and it gets sent off to the trash bin.
Leading supermarket chains have recognized this as a problem and are turning to suppliers to be part of their solution. Assuming you want to continue selling to your customers in the future, your next question will be: what can I do?
A high percentage of crops produced are left in the field and not harvested due to their physical appearance or size. Retailers going forward will be less inclined or sympathetic to accept this as a reason for price increases. While some retailers are attempting to implement programs for mishappened, wonky, ugly or less than standard quality food, the consumer’s acceptance of these types of products is still unsure.
The existing North America food quality regulations will likely not change, or relax in the near future as has happened in the EU with some fresh food products and relaxed regulations are not be an excuse to produce poor or low quality food products. So here are some food loss reduction strategies that your buyers should be able recognize and appreciate:
Producing food that does not go to market is a waste of land, resources, and energy for your business. Retailers going forward will be taking a hard look at supplier practices, as suppliers ultimately impact them and their relationship with the retail customer. Increasing the saleable yield makes good business sense and may be a practical and efficient way to secure markets and put new dollars to the bottom line.
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