16-18 may 2023
BILBAO - BEC

Citizens of developed countries are at the top of the list of the biggest food wasters in the food chain. Specifically, 53% of waste comes from households, followed by food processing (19%) and catering and restaurant services (12%). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), we throw away 1,300 million tons of food per year, a figure related, among other factors, to the food habits currently in place, such as buying more food than is needed, or to inadequate management of the logistics chain, which leads to poor food preservation and subsequent loss.

We throw away 1,300 million tons of food per year. 53% of waste comes from households, followed by food processing (19%) and catering and restaurant services (12%)

The production, transformation, transport and consumption of food require the use of natural resources such as water and energy. But it generates a series of waste and emissions. Among other impacts, this accounts for between 25% and 30% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that have caused the current climate crisis. As a result, all the effort to produce and bring food to the consumer, when it is not consumed, is wasted.

How to solve food waste

Technology is a key solution to solving food and beverage waste. In the case of food packaging, new developments in R&D have led to the emergence of packaging created with sustainable materials or mono materials, which helps to minimize environmental impact and promote the circular economy. Likewise, good preservation of the product with appropriate packaging also leads to a longer shelf life and, consequently, a waste reduction.

The production, transformation, transport and consumption of food generate between 25% and 30% of the total greenhouse gas emissions

For instance, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or IoT can help end food waste and gain competitiveness and efficiency. The digitization of processes, among other benefits, can detect possible failures, such as the maintenance of cold in the supply chain, reinforce decision-making or know all the traceability to keep food in good condition and avoid waste.

The current global food production system has become obsolete due to rapid population growth, urbanization, natural resource management, droughts, and energy access, among other factors. The relocation of the industry, the adaptation of recipes to local needs and tastes, the application of exponential technologies and the collaboration between supply chain stakeholders at local and global levels are key to improving the global food chain.

Discover more strategies, technologies and success stories to achieve a more sustainable food industry and reduce food waste in the new edition of the Food 4 Future World Summit.