How food manufacturers can help growers reduce food loss

Description: Nescafe vintage image

  • Transform perishable raw materials into shelf-stable products. Preserving the taste, smell, look, freshness and texture of food and preventing spoilage are important functions of food processing.
    • In 1938, Nestlé created one of its key inventions, Nescafé soluble coffee, as a response to avoid coffee bean losses that were sitting unsold in Brazilian warehouses.
  • Situate factories near fields where there is an environmental benefit and it is appropriate so less time is spent travelling, allowing perishable food to stay fresh.
    • Sugar beets are perishable and progressively lose sugar content from the moment they are harvested. Roughly 100 million tonnes of beet are transported and processed by the EU beet sugar industry every year. Therefore, to ensure sugar beets are as fresh as possible, beet sugar factories are located close to the fields. Hence, in 2009, the average distance between the beet field and sugar factory was just 44 km in the EU-27.
  • Work with supply chain partners to improve storage, cold chain facilities and transportation so foods and drinks maintain their quality and safety longer.
    • Through Nestlé’s milk district model, it works directly with small-scale dairy producers and cooperatives to build the supply chain. The model was first used in the 1870s and has been adopted in more than 30 countries, including Brazil, Chile, China, India, Mexico and Pakistan. By collecting milk directly from farmers in India, Nestlé has succeeded in reducing milk losses to less than 0.6%. This effort has been boosted by Nestlé’s CHF 11 million investment in India in storage tanks, chillers and veterinary aid. By building close links to dairy farmers, Nestlé can also advise them continuously on quality and farming practices, helping them maintain and enhance standards, and avoid milk losses.

Description: Nestle chilling centre Rajasthan India   Description: Nestle%20reducing%20milk%20losses%20in%20India

  • Work with suppliers to improve food quality and safety through training and innovation so that more raw materials meet regulations and commercial and food safety standards.
    • PepsiCo works directly with European potato growers. The company provides training in agronomic and sustainable best practices and invests in the breeding of new potato varieties to improve the quality of yields. Through these partnerships, PepsiCo helps growers make sure their crops meet commercial and regulatory standards, thereby helping growers avoid food losses.
    • In Belgium, food processors and farmers jointly developed an Integrated Quality Management Standard for the arable crops and horticulture sectors. Some criteria in the standard are designed to avoid food wastage (e.g. storage conditions that keep crops fresher for longer).
    • The Top Institute Food and Nutrition, co-financed by the Dutch Food and Drink Industry Federation (FNLI), is developing a decision-support system for the various operators in the perishable food products supply chain. The decision-support system helps evaluate the contribution of logistical and technological innovations to spoilage reduction.