Food logistics is often a complicated process because products can contain ingredients strategically sourced from multiple locations and perishable items need to be kept refrigerated, Forbes reported. When manufacturers, packagers, distributors and retailers collaborate, the process can become more efficient, make food safer and decrease global hunger.
Large grocery stores typically dominate retail logistics, so food manufacturers constantly need to consider efficiency, sustainability and minimizing waste, Process & Control Today stated. Food material costs can often fluctuate, so companies need to be prepared for variation.
The global population is predicted to reach 9 billion people by 2050, so food demands will increase, Forbes said. Food production takes up 10 percent of energy use and 50 percent of U.S. land, and 40 percent of the food in the U.S. is not consumed. North American consumers waste approximately 121 billion pounds of food per year, and if it was reduced by 15 percent, an extra 25 million Americans could be fed every year. Efficiency will be crucial to meeting increased food demand as the global population grows. The Food Waste Reduction Alliance Project is a group that works to send edible products to food banks to reduce hunger and waste.
Some food manufacturers are leveraging technology to reduce waste. Radio frequency identification tags using temperature can give constant temperature data for perishable items and prevent spoilage and inventory loss, the source stated. IBM leveraged RFID technology to create a freezer that can track items nearing expiration dates and send alerts if a certain product is running low. As consumers place a growing emphasis on sustainable sourcing, mobile apps have been developed to tell shoppers where a product originated and how it was grown by scanning the barcode.
Food producers are constantly becoming more efficient, which allows them to minimize risks and improve safety.