Software As a Way To Reduce Food Waste Through Automation

Author: Yaroslava Bondarenko, Business Analyst at Computools.

Why Food Waste is a Problem

Food waste is an economic and systemic problem. According to the Food Waste Index, about 931 million tons of food waste are produced worldwide each year. 244 million tons come from the food service sector and 118 million tons from the retail industry, according to the Statista study. More than 925 million people worldwide starve, while more food ends up in the trash before reaching our table. The interesting part is that the process doesn’t start on store shelves but takes place at every supply chain step.

The fact is even more painful when we understand that besides preventing so much food from reaching hungry people, this waste causes significant environmental pollution. Food production and transportation generate Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, and food decomposition generates methane and greenhouse gas. In other words, it means that food is produced, delivered, and then decays for nothing. Manufacturers lose money, deprived people go hungry, and the planet suffers from climate change in vain.

Humanity can reduce this global tragedy if food production, logistics, and marketing processes are approached intelligently. The solution to it might be the use of modern technology.

How Food Waste Problems Can Be Solved

Food waste happens at the production stage. Farmers need to supply only those products that fall within regulatory requirements. As a result, products that do not match food safety standards end up in trash without bringing any value to people. Software solutions are called above all to tackle global issues like this one. When it is about food delivery safety, it is possible today to come up with software products that let manufacturers make the use of expiring products.

These days global food retailers rely on eCommerce software development to improve the food supply and marketing processes that partly solves the food waste problem. As an example, they arrange sales of expired products through their mobile apps. There are also various web services that help people share extra food with in need of it online. Thus, food service chains and restaurants can share food through charities. Software solutions have made all of this possible.

However, food waste in households is difficult to control, but there is a chance to optimize waste in the retail industry. To do this, it is necessary to carefully analyze each step by which food reaches the table, starting from production and then develop a strategy to improve these steps.

Software to Solve Food Waste Problem

Today, startups are already trying to create software solutions that help make money, solve urgent global problems, and make this world a better place. Web solutions aim to automate real-time product inventory, price distribution, and the marketing of expiring food products. Such IT products can monitor food quality at every stage of the supply chain, identifying shelf life and condition in time. Each member of the supply chain (manufacturers, retailers, and customers) has specific requirements and needs that customization of the system can meet.

Software development technologies offer a wide stack to build any kind of software for every business or social need. Say, React.JS technology creates an interface that displays real-time data changes, Recharts.JS and Moment.JS integrate charts and dates respectively. In addition, IoT solutions can track the status, movement, and threats to each food and thus lay the groundwork for risk management. IT companies that develop innovative solutions to the food waste problem often collaborate with AI software development partners. AI technologies make it possible to analyze incoming data and make predictions based on which timely measures can be taken to prevent food spoilage.

Food Waste Management Benefits

Food waste costs more than $200 billion annually in the United States alone. About 20% of the freshwater supply is used for this waste. Unfortunately, there is still a gap between charities and those who really need this food. Technology can bring everyone in the chain together. If only large manufacturers and retailers were willing to adopt software solutions across the board for the production, inventory, distribution, and intelligent management of expired or out-of-stock products.

As we can see, the amount budgeted in advance for illiquid products is considerable. However, these funds could be wisely channeled into a favorable environment that would not only reduce financial costs in the long run but would also significantly contribute to restoring the planet’s food balance and reducing harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

Yaroslava Bondarenko

About Yaroslava Bondarenko

I am working as a full-time Business Analyst in a full-service software company called Computools.

My IT background is Business Analysis Internship at EPAM, 1-year experience as a project manager in an outstaffing company, and my current position has been a Business Analyst at Computools.

As of now, my main responsibility is to help businesses transform their project vision into a specific software system followed by software requirements specification (SRS) and a detailed prioritized backlog that stores the product’s major and minor features. This can be achieved through:
– elicitation sessions with subject-matter experts
– mind mapping
– research of targeted domain
– software analysis

If you’d like to learn more about the discovery and planning of IT solutions, you can check my articles and more advice from other Computools’s speakers here:

I am an open-minded person passionate about communication.
I genuinely enjoy getting to know my clients and co-workers and am always ready to expand my outlook and make the extra mile to uncover more things in this fast-changing but fascinating world.

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