Food waste can be cut by $700bn a year

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Food loss and waste are expected to reach 2.1 billion tonnes, worth $1.5 trillion, by 2030, according to Boston Consulting Group, but concerted action by companies and governments could save $700 billion a year.

“Roughly one-third of the food produced around the world goes to waste,” says Esben Hegnsholt, a BCG partner and coauthor of “Tackling the 1.6-Billion-Ton Food Loss and Waste Crisis”.

“This represents a challenge so massive that it was included in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. But while it is a daunting problem, there are steps that can be taken today, actions that draw on currently available technology and know-how, to dramatically slash food loss and waste across the value chain.”

The report identifies 13 concrete initiatives that companies can take to address the problem. These include:

* Improving supply chain infrastructure for the food industry, including investment in cold chain systems.

* Educating farmers, consumers, and company employees on the issue of food loss and waste and steps they can take to reduce it.

* Adopting digital, big data, and other tools to slash loss and waste and developing company KPIs and processes to drive reductions.

* Improving collaboration across the food value chain, including between agricultural producers and food processors.

* Advocating changes to regulations and tax policies that would reduce loss and waste and encourage the repurposing and recycling of food.

The article explains how companies that take action stand to reap tangible business benefits, including lower costs, the opening of new markets and new revenue opportunities, an elevated brand, and an enhanced ability to attract and retain talent.

“While many stakeholders have a part to play in combating food loss and waste, the role of companies is perhaps the most critical,” said Shalini Unnikrishnan, a BCG partner and coauthor of the publication.

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