First assignment of group n° 058
Resources used by the team
Book : "Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal", Tristram Stuart, 2 juillet 2009
Book : "La Grande (Sur-) Bouffe. pour en Finir avec le Gaspillage Alimentaire" Lhoste Bruno
Planetoscope 2012, Les Français et le gaspillage alimentaire
Book : "Pourquoi manger local ?" René Longet
Book : "Les coulisses de la grande distribution" Christian Jacquiau
Book : "Distribution : Inventer le commerce de demain" Cédric Ducrocq
Book : Processus et méthodes logistiques - supply chain management" Jean Laurentie
1. What Problem do you want to solve ?
The problem is we are wasting too much food because people are afraid of eating eat-by date food. Lots of companies are throwing away food that can still be consumed without any health risk. When the food is thrown, most of the time it is destroy to avoid their consumption. The constant need of quality food cause massives production that seriously harm the earth.
The food waste in the food industry
Food waste is a universal problem. Lot of actions have been done, but the problem is still relevant. Since 1974, the percentage of food waste has been multiplied by two; particularly in the developed countries. In our current time, in the food industry the quantity of food waste grows up each year. And actually there are no concrete solution to solve this problem. To understand better the current situation, we will analyse the statistics of France, regarding “food waste” in the food industry. We could mentioned that, in the limited scope of the “food industry” of France more than 2,3 million tonnes of food are throw away each year which represents 58% of the total quantity of food waste. Also we could mentioned, that each year more than 2,3 million tonnes of food are throw away in food distribution in France. But these statistics doesn’t take in consideration all the waste generate buy the producers. In case in 2009 3,25% of the agricultural products aren’t put on the market for several reasons (price speculation, global aspect, calibre…). However, it represent 18 millions of products who are throw away. The important point is that each one knows about the wastes in the distribution, but no one about the problem that have the agricultural producers.
Best is to start by looking at the channels of the food distribution, which are, in this particular study case of the French market, the supermarkets. With the support of a survey of “FAO”, we could mention that any supermarket, each day, throw away an average of 20kg of food. It represents roughly 218 tonnes per day and 8 millions of tonnes per year. It represents also an economic lost since supermarket companies, losses represent an amount of 20 000€ a month. As we have mentioned the food waste for the agricultural producers represent an amount of several millions of euros per year. For the agricultural producers, the products that are often throw away are the cereals (28%) and the vegetables (37%). The waste of fruits represent 10 (%) as the fish and meat together. But to come back to this statistics, how could it be possible to waste so much “good food”, even each sixth person suffer of malnutrition!
The production of animal proteins needs a big contribution of vegetal proteins. The lost of foodstuff due to the no-consumption of it has an environmental impact. Indeed, research confirms that, in average, 10kg of vegetal proteins are used to produce only 1kg of animal protein.
For example: Producing 1kg of beef requires 13kg of cereals and 30kg of hay. Consequently, the production of animal foodstuff requires most of the time much more of plants. So when a steak is thrown away it has a big environmental cost. This food waste has a big impact for our planet contribute to strengthen the world alimentary insecurity. Also the production of animal protein has a cost of water, 1kg of animal foodstuff might need a hundred times more water than 1kg of plants. We can clearly conclude that the habit to consume animal foodstuff requires far more water. Impact on natural recourses:
- Water used to produce the wasted food: 250 Km3 wasted, which represent the amount of water needed to provide water to the entire household around the world.
- Greenhouse Gas: 3,3 Gig tons of greenhouse gas used for the wasted food,
- Use of unnecessary production land: 28% of the Land in the world are used for the wasted food, which represent the area of China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan reunited.
- Pollution of land and water
Therefore, it impacts climate and biodiversity; the whole food chain is affected because the losses are both upstream (excessive production) and downstream (processing and distribution)
Today the food waste is not only an economic, ethical and social stake, but also an ecological and environmental problem. We can add to this the waste of water. In case we could observe that to understand the several reasons of the food waste in the food industry, we must try to understand and observe the different actors of the food industry, from the producers to the distributors.
2. Why does this problem exist?
The way we consume in France but also around the world have rapidly advanced in years, conducing us to a hyper-consummation society.
Consumers are more rushed, less attentive to what dragged in their refrigerators, but still more demanding on quality, price and the composition of their food.
Because of our new lifestyles, all of the food chain is now responsible for of food waste (production, transport, storage, distribution and consumption).
The environmental nonsense causes then thousands of tons of discarded products both fresh (fruits and vegetables) still packed.
In the world 54% of food waste comes from upstream, namely the production, handling and storage (2013 FAO), in fact only 43% of the harvested products end up on our plates. This is due to a lot of factors and constraints (financial, managerial, ...):
- Non-adapted crops technology
- Failure of storage and refrigeration technology
- Problems of Infrastructure, packaging and marketing
- Quality standards: calibration (aspects, dimensions, weight)
- Labelling Standards (consumption date)
- Product prices: promotion in large quantities, higher prices for small packages
- Human Errors: problems controls, breakages, regulation, bearing products on the shelves, storage (failure after major crops)
- Pic of Wastes: religious and national holidays, September (reductions)
3.What breakthrough are you committed to create ?
How we see food waste in the food industry is a national problem, because it has an impact on the environment, but also on the waste of water, the ethics and the economy.
As mentioned before the food industry is composed of 3 different departments (production, transformation and distribution). Each department has his responsibility towards the food waste, but there is one point in common : “the waste of products that could be still consumed”. The most impressive point is that, with the arrival of a study of the “ministère de l’argiculture”, 70% of the products that are thrown away, could be still consumed.
Our first reflexion, to understand the reason why any solutions aren’t still established, was to make a survey with producers and distributors.
The survey is based on the answers of 5 producers (3 agricultural, 1 poultry farmer and 1 cow farmer) and 10 suppliers (3 fruits & vegetables suppliers in Rungis, 1 fish supplier also based in Rungis, 1 central purchasing and 5 supermarkets around Antibes).
The first question was: Are you aware that 70% of the throw away products could be still consume?
> 53% answer “Yes I know it, but I haven’t actualy another concret possibility
> 47% answer “Yes I know it and I try to make some actions to reduce this rate
> 0% answer “ this rate isn’t representative for me”
The interesting thing is that 5 of the 7 answers which declare being involved in reducing the food waste are given by suppliers and by only 2 producers. The second question was: Have you try to reduce food waste by make traineeships, new technologies or perhaps charity actions?
> 17 % answer “I make lot’s of actions (charity & trainiship of employees)”
> 50 % answer “Sometimes, but it isn’t a habbit”
> 36 % answer “I’ve only partticipated to 1 or 2 actions to reduce the waste of food”
> 0% answer “I’ve never done some actions to reduce food waste”
As indicated 86% of the actors confirm to make some actions sometimes, but they don’t do it often, because it doesn’t bring them a considerable advantage. This is the reason why we asked then: Actually what you expect in return of your actions against the food waste?
> 53% answer “the positive image & ethics”
> 30 % answer “society (charity)”
> 8% answer “environment”
> 9% answer “the subvention of the state (money)”
But most of the actors told us that they actually don’t see any credible long term solution, because new technologies are expensive and don’t solve the whole problem. Plus, charity isn’t either a solution because it’s a loss of money. However we can’t say that there is nothing to do. Of course
there are some possibilities to give a second life to the products that should be discarded, we must find the right deal for the whole business industry, including producers, suppliers and customers.
So the last question is : Are you interested to invest in a “food waste project” who provide you a win win situation?
> 0 % answer “Yes of course, I would like to invest directly”
> 56 % answer “Yes of course, but I would have some guarantees”
> 35 % answer “I don’t think that it’s possible, but why not”
> 9 % answer “No, it could work”
What is interesting is that most of the people are interested investing in a project which establishes a win-win situation towards the food waste in the food industry.
Don’t hesitate to invest in this project, because there is a great opportunity to change the curse of the massive food waste. Products that could be still consumed and profitable.
In other words our challenge is “how can we give a second life to the products that are out of the norm (image, calibre, dead line, markets speculations..) but still consumable ?