Initial results from a pilot study by the REAMIT project, consisting of universities and organisations around Europe, have shown how smart technology including Internet of Things (IoT) could help to significantly reduce waste in the food supply chain.
Focused on ‘improving resource efficiency of agribusiness supply chains by minimising waste using big data and IoT sensors’, the REAMIT project aims to make use of modern technology to save 1.8 million tonnes of food waste annually in Northwest Europe. It is also committed to saving 5.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
The project, led by Professor Ramakrishnan Ramanathan of the University of Essex, involved using modern technology to ‘continuously monitor’ the quality of food products in real-time.
This has allowed REAMIT to explore the use of sensors, for example in cold chain logistics, to record data about food and its temperature while on the move. This information can be used to inform decisions and ensure produce stays as fresh as possible for as long as possible.
For example, the live data can tell drivers of refrigerated vans how actions such as opening and closing doors are affecting temperature so they can take necessary action to prevent food losing its freshness.
Professor Ramanathan said: “Food waste results in several adverse economic, environmental, and social impacts. Saving food from becoming waste will help avoid these impacts.”
In addition to increasing the use of technology to reduce food waste, the report suggested increased co-operation between companies within the food supply chain and initiatives that make use of excess food products like food banks.