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Reducing Food Loss and Waste Using Telematics

Every year, approximately one-third of the world’s food, estimated to weigh 1,6 billion tons, is lost or wasted across the supply chain. These are the findings of a global food loss and food waste study conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which evaluated the loss at 1,2 trillion USD.

The Difference Between Food Loss and Food Waste

The terms ‘food loss’ and ‘food waste’ are often used interchangeably. Although they both refer to food that is discarded prior to it being eaten, they have different meanings and occur at different stages of the food supply chain. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), food loss is defined as food ruined due to poor handling and packaging practices as well as a lack of proper storage, transport, and infrastructure. Food waste, on the other hand, refers to throwing away food that is still fit for human consumption, either by choice or because it has expired.

The Level of Food Wastage at Each Stage of the Supply Chain

From production to consumption, food is wasted in all stages of the supply chain. As cited in BCG’s study, FAO claims that the level of annual losses of food from one stage of the supply chain to the other, is as follows:

  • About 500 million tons of food is lost during production.
  • 350 million tons of food does not make it out of the handling and storage stage.
  • Another 160 million tons of food is ruined while being processed and packed.
  • In the distribution and retail stage, 200 million tons of foods are spoiled.
  • Consumers discard roughly 340 million tons of food without eating it each year.

As stated by BCG, there are five reasons behind food wastage. They include:

  • Lack of awareness of the extent of the problem and possible solutions
  • Poor supply chain infrastructure
  • Supply chain efforts are not sufficiently efficient to address food loss and waste
  • Weak value chain collaborations
  • Lack of regulations    

The Volume of Food Loss and Waste in South Africa

As bad as the global statistics on food loss and waste are, they are also bad in South Africa. A recent study by the WWF shows that 30% of all foods produced in the country are thrown away every year. The Household Food Waste Study reports that the wastage costs the country up to R21,7-million per year. Fruits, vegetables, and cereals make up 70% of the waste.

Using Telematics to Address Food Loss and Waste

According to BCG, reducing food loss and waste could potentially help save around $700 billion worldwide. But, for it to happen it depends on all companies that play a role in the food value chain. The companies need to work together and implement new technologies that can help extend shelf life and keep food fresher for consumers.

With that said, one way of reducing food wastage is to employ the powers of telematics. While it cannot help eliminate wastage at all stages of the supply chain, it can help optimize the transportation process.

  1. Meet Delivery Deadline with Route Optimization

Due to the delicate nature of perishables, it is very important to deliver on time. Getting it wrong means there is a high chance that the food will get spoiled before it reaches its destination. This not only results in a loss of money but also leads to customer dissatisfaction.  Using Geotab’s fleet management system can help ensure that the food arrives on time in stores. Equipped with a route optimization tool, fleet managers can select the most efficient routes that drivers can use to reach shops much faster. This maximizes the use of the vehicle while minimizing unnecessary miles.

2. Know the Whereabouts of Your Vehicles with Real-Time Tracking

Sometimes drivers run their errands using the company’s vehicles. This leads to unproductive use of your fleet and puts unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicles. Geotab’s GO7 device can collect real-time information about a vehicle’s location – enabling fleet managers to monitor and know a vehicle’s exact location at any given time.

3. Ensure Food Safety

When running a responsible food and beverage business, you need to ensure the safety of your food. Geotab’s GPS vehicle tracking solution enables you to monitor and act against poor driving behaviours that can affect or damage the products being delivered. Furthermore, by advising drivers to operate vehicles more responsibly, you will also make a significant contribution to improving their safety. Read more on how to use telematics to ensure your drivers comply with the rules of the road.

4. Be on Top of Vehicle Maintenance Schedules to Avoid Breakdowns

Through Geotab’s fleet management software, MyGeotab, fleet managers can access information about the vehicles engine health. They also can create alerts that will enable them to track mechanical wear and tear. This allows you to schedule the required maintenance and replace parts when they need replacement. Apart from enabling you to meet your vehicles maintenance requirements, it also protects your business from costly downtime.

5. Temperature Controlled Transport through Geotab’s Integration with Valor Temptrac

Trucks need additional functionality such as a refrigeration to keep the perishables fresh for delivery. Thus, it is incredibly important to be able to track temperatures inside the refrigerators to ensure that the required temperature is maintained. Geotab’s integration with Valor Temptrac’s solution can help ensure that the correct temperature is maintained at all stages of the value chain. The integration enables fleet managers to monitor the temperature of refrigerated products in real-time. Read more on how our integration with ValorTemptrac works.


Author: The Geotab Africa Team                   

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