First assignment of group n°032


Resources used by the team

Mathilde Cutarella

Book : Global safety of fresh product ; a handbook of best practice, innovative commercial solutions and case studies, 2014 by Hoorfar and Jeffrey, ed. Elsevier Science

Juliette Calot

Book : Quel futur pour notre alimentation ? Pierre Feillet, 2014, edition Quae

Louise Calonne

Book : “Full planet, empty plates : the new geopolitics of food scarcity” de Lester. R Brown

Dana Chaimardanova

Book : La Grande (Sur-) Bouffe. pour en Finir avec le Gaspillage Alimentaire Broché – 2 octobre 2012 de Lhoste Bruno (Auteur), Stuart Tristram (Auteur), Editeur : Rue de l'échiquier

Leslie Cork

Book : Waste: uncovering the global food scandal : tristam stuart.

Laurie Coradin

Book : Food Foolish: The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change John M. Mandyck and Eric B. Schultz

Thomas Cornillot

Book : Global gâchis: Global gâchis de Mathilde Stuart

1. What Problem do you want to solve ?

With our project, we intend to minimize food waste that happens when consumers throw foodstuff because they have doubts about its level of freshness.

It represents a sensitive and urgent problem to solve: in the EU only, nearly 100 million tons of food are wasted annually. In addition to the food scarcity observed, the human population increases of 75 million annually, or 1.1% per year.

We would like first to fight against the combination of these two issues by acting on a smaller scale: the one of consumers and of private individuals. It's the sum of their efforts that will allow a global reduction of the edible food thrown and wasted every day.

In each household, we have detected bad consumption habits mainly due to the fear of the fast deterioration of food and also food poisoning. People are throwing things, sometimes when they shouldn’t, because they can’t answer this kind of questions: is this food edible? What is its used-by date? Should he/she eat it right now or is it too late?

1/3 of all food produced in the world is never consumed. It's clear that this situation endangers the futur generations, that's why it's primordial to tackle it with a practical and day-to-day solution for consumers.

2. Why does this problem exist?

The problem exists at different and numerous scales. ½ of the food is wasted between the farms and the plates of the consumers because of the inefficiency in the food chain (farmers/ industries/ supermarkets/ restaurants/ households).

Different actors are responsible for this disaster:

  • The farmers: they are under the pressure of anaesthetic and quality requirements. Therefore, 30% of available agricultural land is wasted.
  • The industries
  • The supply chain: in transportation, some products are damaged and then tossed.
  • The supermarkets: they are also under the pressure of anaesthetic requirements and also of quality and safety requirements because they pay great attention to the use-by-date regulations.
  • The restaurants: they pay attention to the safety of their clientele and to the freshness of their offered meals.
  • The consumers/ households: their behaviours and the growing demand emphasize the food waste.

However, our research related to this problem, shows that the households are the main actors. For example, according to the video “Food Waste - A story of excess”, the food is lost for 8% in farms, 4% in industries, 6% in supermarkets, 15% at restaurants and 25% in households’ fridges, in the US. In France, 20 to 30 kg of food is wasted per person per year.

The problem of food waste exists because of an unequal access to food. Indeed, in wealthy countries we are collapse over the large amount of food while poor countries lack of food. If there was no an unequal repartition of food between countries, consumers and actors of the society in developed countries would not be tempted to over consume and then waste.

However, food waste exists also in developing countries but there are not concerned in the same way. In developing countries; we speak about high levels of “food loss” and high levels of “unintentional wastage” due to poor equipment, transportation and infrastructure. On the contrary, the wealthy countries are more about low levels of “unintentional wastage” and high levels of “food waste” due to consumers. In fact, several factors can explain this problem:

1- Consumers often confuse over food expiration dates. This confusion is one of the leading causes for food waste. The use-by-dates are responsible for the loss of millions of pounds of wasted food per year. There is a confusion between food quality and food safety. There is not a clear understanding of what the dates mean over the big flow of information given to the customers:

  • “use-by” and “best by” dates must be intended for consumer use
  • “sell by” date only intended to help manufacturers and retailers but not consumers as think
  • “use-by” refers to food that becomes unsafe to eat after the date, while “best before” refers more to deteriorating quality.

Example: 40% of the US food supply is tossed per year because of food dating.

Many food expiration dates are confusing for consumers, overly cautious, or both, and the result is a plenty of perfectly edible food and money which is wasted.

2- They purchase too much than their needs. The manufacturers and the retailers create needs for people and push them to buy more and more because of these food expiration dates. Thus, at households, the food storage becomes a big problem. Since the 70’s, the over consumption (creating mass-consumption societies) and at the same time, the implementation of the food expiration dates in 1970, amplified this phenomenon.

3- Consumers are less sensitive to food waste in their consumption. In fact, easy access to food through supermarkets for example, makes consumers believe that the food supply is endless.

A lot of solutions were found to reduce food waste in the supply chain and at supermarkets for example regulations to avoid tossing products closed to their expiration dates and give them to charities. Whereas the consumers are the main actors of food waste and no alternatives were found to inform them about the consequences of their behaviors on food waste and then on food scarcity. That’s why, we would like to develop an alternative to help them to change their consumption habits.

3. What breakthrough are you commited to creating?

We are committed to create a tool that would help people to know better and understand the expiry date of food product. That would tackle the following problem:

  • People would be able to understand the expiry date of a product and so able to judge if they can eat the product or not. In fact, most people are afraid of a product which expiry date is over. Thus, they don’t want to take any risks and most of the time they throw it away. In fact, this kind of behaviour increases food waste.
  • Introduce a new consumer trend. In fact, with this new tool, people will be able to consume the way they want and above all, this proposal is about giving greater responsibility to consumers and reduces food waste.
  • Dairy products are the most concerned by possible waste because people are afraid consuming them after the expiry date. Thus, the tool we want to create will tackle this problem and avoid useless waste.

In order to set up this new tool, our current manufacturers would have to combine biology and technology. In fact, they would have to create a technology that integrates the biological particularity of food.

This new mechanism can be used in developed countries and in poor countries. Indeed, the food expiration is worldwide problem and food waste needs to be tackled for a better repartition of food resources. Knowing that housewife’s but also by NGO’s would not simply use our product; it would be a good solution all over the world to tackle food waste.

Our jury:

Sandrine MERCIER is coordinating sustainable development in her company Carrefour France in Paris for 6 years already. She is also in charge of food quality by handling traditional fresh products and by managing quality process in department stores. We will be able to convince her to join the final panel because she is already working as a Sustainable development director and above all is interested in food quality.

Stéphane MONFRAY is in charge of special project in Carrefour market in Paris. He has over 10 years experience in leading successful projects and in particular in developing new food concept. Such a concept should concern him as a developer and his company.

Charlotte RIGOT is a student from Skema Business School. She is an assistant brand manager (innovation & strategy) in DANIO (Danone Dairy) for 3 months now. She can be interested in our project because it is innovative and related to Dairy companies such DANIO. Moreover, she can help us getting in touch with DANONE developers.

Francois BOURDICHON is in charge within Danone of the Corporate Food Safety Analytical governance in Paris. He has achieved a master’s degree in microbiology in Pasteur Institute in Paris. Over these past few years, he worked as a Danone senior microbiologist, as a corporate food safety, microbiology and hygiene manager at Barry Callebaut and also as food safety consultant. Also, he looks forward offering his skill as a consultant free of charge. Our project fits his challenge to feed a growing population in the safest and sustainable way.

Laura Caniot is responsible for supporting sustainable local projects in the environmental protection association ZERO WASTE FRANCE (ex-Cniid). She is supporting entrepreneurs who suggest solutions over reduction or waste recovery. Our project should interest her very much as it intends to reduce food waste.

Which Criteria Must be fulfilled to judge that the challenge is met?

Criteria of quality:

Our company’s main objective is to find a solution to use by date products. Food waste today has become an international problem. Distribution companies, supermarkets but also artisanal workers have trouble to sell their product, specifically in the milk production, when consumption date is overpassed. Therefore, our goal is to propose a product that will reinforce the criteria of quality and help consumers to make sure they do not take any risk when they want to eat something that is use by date. Therefore:

1) Our product must help consumers to control the quality of milk products

2) It must assure that they take no risk eating it

Criteria of performance:

In order to make sure consumers do not take any risk our product must:

1) Be accepted by a team of Scientifics

2) We must make sure that it has no risk on people’s health

3) It does not change any bacteria that are essential to the preservation of the milk

4) We also must make sure our product is working and can be used many time

5) We shall also make sure that our product can be used on every type of fresh food (meat, milk, cheese…)

Criteria of production:

In order to respond our main problem, we believe that must create two different type of product:

1) The first one concerns in particular milk products. In order to test the freshness of these kind of products (for example yogurts, cream…) we must rethink the

design of food containers and install a tester of freshness on cream or yogurts cap.

2) For other kind of products such as meat or even milk, we must create a new object that will allow us to test the freshness without changing the food in itself.

3) Our object must be easy to wash, to product

4) It must be rigid and solid

5) It must not be very expensive to produce and must respond