Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 15

Retailers and their supplier partners
step up efforts to ensure food gets used
BY ANDY NELSON
A
ccording to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations, up to one third of food produced is wasted
each year. This is due in part to perfectly safe food being
thrown away during outbreak scares.
Seattle-based supply chain specialist iFoodDS is one of the
companies providing traceability solutions to isolate affected food
down to the farm and lot level, which can help reduce waste as a result
of outbreaks and product recalls.
" Environmental impacts are becoming more and more important
as we think about preserving this Earth, " said Jenny Obranovich,
iFoodDS's senior marketing manager. " We should be aware of these
impacts, such as methane gas from discarded food sitting in landfills,
wasted freshwater used to produce that food, and spent energy used to
produce, process, and transport food that never gets eaten. "
The problem of food security has only been magnified during the
recent pandemic. Many people - including Americans - don't have
enough to eat, Obranovich said, yet we're wasting a significant amount
of food for often preventable reasons.
At the grocery store, consumers often buy more than they need and
end up throwing it away when they can't eat it before it goes bad, she
said. People put a lot of weight on quality and freshness, which makes
it critical to provide high-quality produce to prevent waste in store or
at home.
" Produce - and other fresh foods - is often rejected due to poor
quality or visual defects. It's often thrown away by suppliers and retailers
when it could be sent elsewhere, such as to a foodbank or wholesaler. "
Consumers are often unable to determine the quality of produce
through packaging, so they may end up throwing it away when they get
home and find substandard quality product inside the package.
That said, many grocery stores and their fresh suppliers have made
huge strides when it comes to preventing food waste, said Minos
Athanassiadis, iFoodDS's vice president of supply chain.
Many grocery retailers and their suppliers, he said, are bringing on the
right technology to:
* Automate and improve the inspection process at each step of the
supply chain, from grower to retailer's stores.
* Use data to help both growers and grocery retailers anticipate quality
problems prior to shipment
* Bolster customer loyalty by consistently meeting quality standards
There are also ways in which supermarkets can pick up their games
in this area, Athanassiadis said. They include:
* Invest in the right technology if they don't already have it
* Standardize inspection processes between both distribution centers
and individual inspectors to improve consistency and efficiency
* Identify quality issues sooner so that grocery retailers don't have to
choose between selling low quality product, spending extra labor
to trim and cull product in store, marking it down to sell quickly, or
tossing it.
supermarketperimeter.com
THE WAY FORWARD
by Jeff Gelski
About a third of the edible food produced in
the United States is wasted, according to the
report " A national strategy to reduce food
waste at the consumer level " published in
2020 by the National Academies Press.
" If you could imagine buying three bags of
groceries, coming home and throwing one
away, " said Barbara Schneeman, one of the
report's editors and a professor emerita at
the University of California - Davis.
Manufacturers, retailers and foodservice
venues could develop promotions that let
consumers know the optimal amount of variety
and products they should acquire rather than
promoting over-acquisition, or buying more
food than they need, according to the report.
Food industry trade associations, consumer
organizations and other non-profit organizations
could advocate for the passage of federal
legislation to harmonize the language and
standards for the use-of-date labels, and
then they could educate consumers about
the information on the date labels.
Jay Sanghani, a technologist in global dairy
applications for Ingredion, Inc., Westchester,
Ill., also spoke at the event, giving examples of
how food companies may reduce food waste
during product development. Companies run
multiple trials to perfect a product, he said.
" That takes several trials, " Sanghani said. " That's
not very sustainable. You're wasting a lot of
ingredients to get to your final product. "
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one way to cut down
on the number of trials needed. Formulators
could provide input to the AI system on what
qualities are desired in a finished product. He
gave the example of creating a bean-based
yogurt alternative that tastes like a dairy yogurt
and has high viscosity and good texture.
OCTOBER 2021 - 15
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Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021

Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - Intro
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 3
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 4
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 5
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 6
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 7
Supermarket Perimeter - October 2021 - 8
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