In our last blog we discussed how — while 1 billion people in the world are undernourished — 30-40% of food (primarily perishable products) is lost or wasted. We described how a holistic approach to cold chain management — from the field to the supermarket shelf — can dramatically reduce the loss of perishable products. In this blog we will examine the importance of FEFO (First Expired First Out) inventory management in the cold chain in order to reduce food losses.
According to the latest (2011) report of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), on a global basis about one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted, amounting to ~1.3 billion tons per year. In the US alone, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC) estimates that 40% of food produced never gets consumed. As illustrated by the infographic on the right, perishable products (fresh produce, dairy, meat, seafood) account for more than 80% of this wastage. Aside from the fact that food is being lost/wasted when 1 billion people in the world are undernourished, the heavy toll imposed by food loss/wastage also includes significant environmental costs such as wasted freshwater and fuel, superfluous pollution, and stressed landfills.
Many factors contribute to food loss and waste. The graph on the right (adapted from the FAO report) shows that in developed countries, on average, about 35% of wastage is attributable to the consumer, i.e., food that reached the consumer in an edible condition but, for one reason or another, was thrown
away. Organizations like the NDRC are doing their utmost to raise consumer awareness and educate towards the reduction of food wastage.
But what about the 65% of food loss that occurs somewhere along the supply chain between the producer and the store shelf¾or, more specifically, along the cold chain since, as noted above, food loss is primarily associated with perishable products? The University of Nottingham preliminary report The Impact of Reducing Food Loss in the Global Cold Chain (September 2014) notes “…If perishable food is kept at its optimum temperature for its entire lifecycle food loss will be reduced…” (our emphasis). The “entire lifecycle” starts at the harvest site itself, continues through packaging/processing, storage and transit segments, and doesn’t end until the product leaves the retailer’s shelf.
It was with this profound understanding of the importance of a holistic approach to the cold chain that BT9 developed its Xsense® cold chain management system. From the moment they are placed in a package or pallet, the disposable wireless Xsense® HiTag sensors automatically transmit temperature and relative humidity (RH) data to the Xsense® cloud-based Data Center, alerting stakeholders throughout the entire cold chain to deviations from pre-set temperature and RH thresholds and facilitating pre-emptive corrective actions.
BT9 is proud to be at the forefront of reducing food loss, while bringing tremendous value to its customers.
The table on the right shows how BT9 was able
to save a customer close to $400,000 over 253 shipments of cherries. And this calculation does not take into account other value propositions such as reduced labor costs or enhanced brand equity. To learn more on how Xsense® can reduce food loss and enhance profitability contact us at: email@example.com.