The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its State of Food and Agriculture report today, which finds that 14 percent of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching retail.
A FAO press release announcing the new report identified critical loss points in the supply chain, saying:
Results indicate that harvesting is the most frequently identified critical loss point for all types of food. Inadequate storage facilities and poor handling practices were also named among the main causes of on-farm storage losses. For fruits, roots and tubers, packaging and transportation also appear to be critical.
Food loss statistics varied by region, with more than 20 percent loss in central and southern Asia, roughly 15 percent in northern America and Europe, and slightly over 5 percent in Australia and New Zealand.
Losing 14 percent of the food supply between harvest and the store is obviously bad, but thankfully there is a new generation of startups looking to tackle the issue. TeleSense uses IoT sensors to monitor the temperature and humidity of grain as it is stored and shipped. Varcode uses special temperature sensor barcode stickers and blockchain to continuously monitor and record the temperatures of food to ensure they remain at the proper temperature. And StixFresh, which just won the Startup Showcase at our 2019 Smart Kitchen Summit, uses a special sticker to extend the life of produce.
You can actually see a good breakdown of the companies working on the problem in our Food Waste Market Map.
Hopefully as these and other technologies come to market, the next FAO report will feature much better news when it comes to food waste.