In honor of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, we’re focusing this Food for Thought episode on what companies need to know to take meaningful action to reduce impacts from food loss and waste. Quantis Global Science Lead Alexi Ernstoff shares insights on how to think differently about this issue and why packaging re-designs must consider impacts from food waste. We’ve captured her key points below. To dig deeper into the landscape of business actions to build a resilient food system, download the Quantis Food Report.
“A primary role of packaging is to protect and preserve food. I hope when companies revisit this issue of packaging and how to redesign packaging to be more sustainable, that they also consider the role packaging can play in reducing food waste.”
Global Science Lead, Quantis
1+ Tackling food loss and waste takes a full value chain approach.
The conversation on food loss and waste is often focused around what consumers can do to reduce their impact. But food waste is an issue starting at the farm and spanning the value chain. So companies have a large responsibility and vested interest in taking action to improve efficiencies not only in their operations, but all the way upstream to the farm.
2+ Not all food waste is the same.
If an agri-food business is serious about reducing its impacts, food loss and waste are key efficiency levers for change. However, not all food waste is the same. Different foods have different impacts (e.g. animal products versus grains or vegetables). If a company takes a general volume-based approach to reducing waste, it may not see where it can make the most significant impact in its supply chain. The conversation on food waste needs to shift from volume to value.
3+ Consider impacts from food waste in packaging ecodesign.
A primary role of packaging is to protect and preserve food. Therefore, when we talk about food waste, we should also talk about packaging as an intervention. Companies face serious pressure to reduce their packaging, especially with high-profile issues such as marine plastic pollution. As companies seek to redesign packaging to be more sustainable, it’s critical that they consider the product’s impacts as a whole, and the role packaging can play in reducing impacts from food waste.