Waste must be cut out at every stage of food production

webinar panel

Sir, At a time when the equivalent of £2.9 trillion of food was burned or binned globally in just 12 months, the importance of the Waste Not Want Not campaign and the recent webinar couldn’t be clearer. However, losses are often overlooked and increased control of production methods can help to minimise waste.

We must be mindful not to forget the manufacturing process, where we must use data to measure the impact of operational changes. Areas such as initial raw material preparation are often the biggest waste factor, losing as much as 30% of the purchased volume. The perception that “beating the spec” increases product quality, combined with the lack of a true measure of the maximum potential yield, are the key driving factors behind this. The result is that a manufacturer’s waste can be 40% higher than it needs to be. But these losses can be reduced or even eliminated through engaging the technical and production teams on achieving the right specification.

Secondary processes such as cooking and product assembly typically result in 2% to 5% waste. And the impact when products are stored for too long, in non-optimal environments, or cooked for longer than needed is rarely fully understood. Storing tomatoes for one extra day, even in a controlled environment, can lead to an additional 1% yield loss and up to one day’s less shelf life. Optimised cooking times, temperatures and conditions for proteins can cut moisture loss and produce a more satisfying final product.

Paul Harvey, head of grocery, Newton Europe

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