Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Researchers find payoffs in curbing food waste

New research on behalf of Champions 12.3 finds that for every $1 companies invested to reduce food loss and waste, they saved $14 in operating costs.

The report finds that household savings could be much greater. A five-year trial in the United Kingdom found a 250-to-one return on investment in a campaign to reduce household food waste.

Champions 12.3 is a coalition of executives from governments, businesses, international organizations, research institutions and farmer groups working to cut food waste in half by 2030.

That’s one of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

The report, called The Business Case for Reducing Food Loss and Waste, evaluated financial cost and benefit data for 1,200 sites across 700 companies in 17 countries, finding that nearly every site realized a positive return on its investment to reduce food waste.

The types of investments companies made include: quantifying and monitoring food loss and waste, training staff on practices to reduce waste, changing food storage and handling processes, changing packaging to extend shelf-life and changing best before labels.

The 14:1 return on investment comes from not buying food that would have been lost or wasted, increasing the share of food that’s sold to customers, introducing new product lines made from food that otherwise would have been lost or wasted and reducing waste management costs.

The United Kingdom campaign reduced average household food waste by 21 per cent, but since the campaign ended in 2012, progress has stalled.