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Food and Beverages | Friday, July 29, 2022
Supply chain companies are utilizing IoT and blockchain sensors to detect food quality and prevent wastages.
FREMONT, CA: In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in food waste, with one-third of the food produced worldwide either being lost or wasted. These wastes not only harm business operations, but they also harm efforts to help billions of people who are hungry and are harmful to the environment - in a significant way. Approximately ten percent of global carbon emissions come from food waste and loss. It is projected that there will be 10 billion people worldwide by 2050, which will exacerbate food security and environmental problems if changes are not made quickly and easily.
Digital supply chain – leveraging IoT and blockchain
Many technologies are being utilized to tackle the problem of food waste. They are showing particularly impactful when providing a digital trail of the journey of the food throughout the supply chain from farm to fork to the consumer. Blockchain and IoT can provide a detailed view of where problems arise in the global supply chain.
Blockchain has been hailed as an "evolution" in the fight against food waste, enabling better traceability, transparency, and safety for food from the farm to the dinner table, thus reducing food waste. Adopting a blockchain-based digital ecosystem would allow timestamped activity and transaction verification to be stored and verified throughout the food supply chain, creating a more efficient, transparent, and cost-effective infrastructure than the one currently in use.
Additionally, real-time supply chain transparency and traceability are made possible through IoT-connected devices in the food industry. Businesses can reroute or reallocate produce based on data and analytics obtained from sensors located on refrigeration units. Similarly, bin monitoring sensors help hotels and restaurants plan and reduce food waste by providing real-time information. Sensors connected to IoT in packaging can help distributors re-distribute products as necessary, or consumers can use a product before it reaches the end of its shelf life. By combining cloud-based analytics with this technology, food waste can be reduced by 50% through cloud-based analytics.
Shelf-life extension – keeping food fresh for longer
Almost half of all fruit and vegetables produced worldwide are wasted yearly due to decomposition and disposal, making food waste a significant problem in the supply chain. By harnessing technology, the supply chain can make informed decisions about merchandising, ordering, and distributing goods to eliminate waste.
Food freshness can now also be assessed using technology, thus allowing decisions to be made. IoT networks and data analysis are leveraged at the storage stage to calculate shelf life by predicting the ripeness of fruits. By using biosensors, this system detects when the fruit is going bad by detecting an increase in ethylene production in the fruit.
Packaging sensors to extend shelf life
Freshness is being tracked, monitored, and detected using IoT sensors and data analysis. On-board time-temperature sensors will prevent retailers and consumers from throwing away fresh produce that has expired beyond its 'best before' date.