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How Technology Can Assist Grocers in Reducing Food Waste

Food and Beverages | Wednesday, January 19, 2022

With reports that major supermarkets waste the equivalent of nearly 190 million meals per year, food waste reduction is becoming an increasingly important issue.

FREMONT, CA:  Food waste is a significant issue throughout the supply chain. Around one-third of all food is lost or wasted—about 1.3 billion tons. To combat this, emerging technologies are being used to streamline processes and contribute to waste reduction. Food is wasted at every stage of the supply chain, from agricultural production to consumption. Grocery retailers have the ability—and the responsibility—to make significant changes to help reduce food waste. The followings are a few of the initiatives they can implement to help the environment.

Implement technology for tracking expiration dates

Unsold products that have passed their expiration date are a significant source of food waste at the store level. This issue is resolved by expiration date tracking technology. Automating the manual expiration date check not only saves valuable time but also enables stores to discount soon-to-expire products, ensuring that nothing goes to waste and generating some additional revenue in the process. And, with grocery retailers attempting to accomplish more with less time and resources these days, this type of technology will be a massive help to overworked store teams.

Educate store employees about the issues surrounding food waste.

Naturally, retailer training should be a top priority on all fronts. However, the urgency of the climate crisis underscores the critical nature of ensuring that the teams are knowledgeable about food waste. By including specific courses on food waste in the training program, grocery retailers can raise employee awareness of the issue and motivate them to take action.

Enhance the transparency and adaptability of the supply chain

Food waste is trouble that affects the entire supply chain, from farm to fork. Improved communication and collaboration between stores and suppliers will invariably reduce store waste, enabling greater flexibility with deliveries and last-minute order changes. For instance, one store may discover that its candy bars are selling out too quickly, but its fresh vegetables are stagnant. If they have a good relationship with their supplier, they can adjust their order and ensure that those vegetables do not go to waste by sending them to another store.

Contribute to the community

Distributing unsold produce to food banks and hunger-relief charities is a beautiful thing to do at any time. Still, it is especially appreciated during this time of economic hardship for many.

Accept "imperfect" produce

The most trivial reason for food waste in grocery retail is that many fruits and vegetables that appear odd or misshapen are discarded before they reach the shop floor. Some businesses are capitalizing on those that sell only imperfect produce that cannot be sold in supermarkets.

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