The last several years have seen a marked change in the understanding of food loss across the complete food value chain which has come as a shock to many.
click the image to view the infographic
Solving the problem is definitely not a simple matter as many factors ranging from improved crops to household meal planning and supermarket shelf management to pest control will impact on the loss.
A recent paper called for a “move toward uniformity in date labeling, thereby decreasing confusion among stakeholders and reducing food waste.”
click the image to view the paper
The report identified Date Labeling Uniformity, Regulatory Enforcement, Consumer Education and Indicator Technologies as important focus areas. The paper presents information from a number of studies, the essence of how well or badly consumers understand date labling of food appears near the end of the infographic at the head of this post.
While the technological reasoning behind some of the Indicator Technologies being developed is sound, the work required to get the consumer to understand and use such technologies will need attention. If a temperature logger system is linked to a microbial growth model and used to predict the time to the end of a safe life understanding becomes even more difficult. Too much reliance on what the technology tells them may lead to consumers ignoring more traditional indicators of deterioration like acidity, smell and consistency.
So its an interesting time ahead. This might not be effecting smaller food businesses in sub Saharan Africa, but is interesting and helps the entrepreneur keep an eye on where it will need to move at some time in the future.