4 min read

In addition to increasing the profitability of food businesses, new technologies can also help address the growing problem of global food shortages. Bjorn Thumas, director of business development at TOMRA Food, explains.

The supermarkets of the near future will radically transform their business models through innovations such as online, online and in the food supply chain. These technologies are used in the battle for customers, but they can also benefit the planet. This is achieved by improving sustainability, a buzzword that is very overloaded, but that certainly can mean something in supermarkets and the supply chain. Producing and selling food becomes more ecological, since sustainability and profitability depend on the efficient use of resources. The world population is projected to grow from 7.6 billion to 10 billion by 2050, and in many areas the demand for food already outstrips supply. To illustrate the rapid pace of change, agricultural demand is now 50% higher than five years ago. This has a great weight on agricultural resources because the land available for food production is very limited. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, only 20% more of the land can be used productively. Existing resources must be used more effectively to provide food for all and to provide food for future generations.

In addition to these burdens, there is another challenge. Almost one third of all food produced in the world is currently wasted. That means that around 1,300 million tons of food rot or are discarded every year. It is surprising to know that approximately 45% of all fruits and vegetables and 20% of meat are waste. This is scandalous. Only a quarter of these wasted foods could feed the 795 million people who suffer from chronic hunger in the world.

This also has commercial implications. According to the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP), measures to prevent food waste could save companies € 341 million per year. And there are clear indicators of the need to act. 54% of all waste is lost in previous processes, largely due to the inefficiency of developing countries during harvest, post-harvest processing and processing. The remaining 46% is wasted in processing, distribution and consumption, and waste generated by consumption is generated in industrialized countries.

By recognizing these inefficiencies, the UN agreed in 2015 to halve per-capita food waste by 2030. This set a new precedent by including food loss and reducing food waste in global development goals. United Nations. A report by the European Parliament entitled “Technological options for the nutrition of 10 billion people” revealed that the automation of food processing chains with the right technology can improve sustainability in many ways, for example, by optimizing the quality of food. Food Products and reduction of quality losses. Deficiencies and lower consumption of energy and water. “This confirms that processors have a good reason to reduce waste, reduce inefficiencies, overheads and increase profits.

TOMRA Food is a leading provider of integrated postharvest solutions for the global fresh produce industry. He is aware of food waste and works closely with farmers, processors and retailers to solve the problem. TOMRA’s experience throughout the world shows that much remains to be done to prevent so many “good products” from being unnecessarily eliminated from the processing chain due to inefficient classification. TOMRA constantly develops sustainable solutions with its customers and many other companies.

Quick-Win can be achieved by optimizing the latest sensor-based classification solutions. The potential here is considerable. For example, optimized sorting machines may find that 70% of a poor looking crop is actually of good quality. It makes a big difference: by adhering to well-defined quality standards, most of the product can be sold and consumed, fed to people and made to profit rather than thrown away. Selling fruits or vegetables as a worse product or for a processed product different from the one originally planned is much better than not selling it at all.

The waste can also be reduced by inverse classification. Waste streams containing only 1% to 2% of a good product are often discarded, but this is not mandatory. With an adequate visual equipment, well understood by the manufacturer of the sorting machine with the possible objectives of “diversion”, the automatic classifiers can recover this waste. This is becoming commonplace in the nut industry by making better use of natural food resources while increasing commercial value and profits.

For these reasons, sorting technology will play an increasingly important role in the supermarkets of the future. And since the financial and ethical reasons for reducing food waste are urgent, this future must begin immediately!


What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote