We produce incredible amounts of food and beverage products as a nation. It stands to reason, then, that we also create an incredible amount of food waste as a nation. One USDA finding concluded that as much as 18% of landfills are composed of food waste. Solving the food waste problem is important to water streams as well, since water is used on an industrial scale to irrigate plants – as much as 25% of our freshwater supply in a year’s time!
Some innovative efforts on the consumer end hope to greatly reduce food waste. For example, two research projects funded by the USDA are testing online marketplaces and mobile apps to help farmers, restaurants and retailers manage food that won’t sell in the supermarket, for example; the app coordinates delivery logistics and payment. Other innovations related to scan-based trading look at the supply side of the problem. Capturing food items that experience “shrink” in the store – such as when a carton of eggs breaks or a glass jar of product busts on the floor – may help prevent rising costs from suppliers to retailers.
Waste can also be handled on the manufacturing end as well, particularly with those products involving slurries like yogurt, ketchup and other products. For example, many food and beverage manufacturers have found that batch inconsistency is one of the primary waste factors in the plant. Another issue is older equipment, such as heating tanks, that burn off ingredients through evaporation, rather than mixing them as smoothly and quickly as possible. Modern heaters and mixers, such as those innovatively designed at Komax, can help reduce waste tremendously by creating a consistent batch of product every time, using less energy to produce a batch of product, and eliminating evaporation waste (thus also reducing the costs of raw ingredients, like spices that are burned off in the process).
Solving the waste issue will take action from consumers, retailers and manufacturers. Komax stands ready to help.