According to FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, about one third of all food is wasted. Did you know that around 14 percent of the food produced in the world doesn’t even reach retail level? It’s lost or wasted somewhere along the way.
It’s not just a terrible waste of natural resources and bad economics. According to the World Food Program 821 million people, that’s nearly 1 in 9 on the planet, go to bed on an empty stomach.
But, things are looking up. There is a lot of work in progress to address this problem, not least by using technology.
Sensors, blockchain and smart packaging
The growing interest in food quality and safety has spurred a lot of research. There is development being done in sensitive and reliable methods of analysis as well as technology for freshness preservation and food quality.
Chemical and biological sensors can be used for food monitoring and smart packaging, measuring freshness markers, allergens, pathogens, adulterants, and toxicants.
Smart packaging could facilitate food-status monitoring, reduce food waste, extend shelf-life, and improve overall food quality.
Add algorithms to this and we can enhance the effect significantly. Based on consumer behavior and agricultural science together with data drawn from advanced sensor technology mentioned above, all provenanced by blockchain, we can predict and preempt the freshness of harvest from the field through processing and supply chain stops. We can also better match supply to demand to avoid the current mismatch between them, leading to food waste.
Buy food that would have been thrown away
Until we have a way better match between producer and consumer in place, we need to address the waste that is taking place right now.
Overproduction, faulty packaging, seasonal trends, short dates, are all reasons that food is thrown away although it’s perfectly fine. A couple of years ago, it would be wasted but today online shops such as Approved Food in the UK and Matsmart in Sweden take care of it and sell it.
Another example is Karma. They also take care of food from restaurants, coffee shops and farms and make sure it’s sold instead of thrown.
App helps you cook with what you got
But what about all that food you have already bought? It’s sitting there in cupboards and fridges until it goes old and thrown in the bin.
There is an app for that as well. With SuperCook you do an inventory of what you got at home and it creates recipes for you, based on what you’ve already bought. It sounds simple and is brilliant. You can manage your pantry by using your voice, and the app has over one million recipes.
Of course, these are just three of many ways we can reduce food waste by using technology.
❓ Do you know of more? Send us an e-mail, and we’ll check it out.