McKinsey & Company Names Food Waste #3 Priority for Resource Productivity
McKinsey & Company recently published a report that identified opportunities in the area of resource productivity. They discovered 130 areas that when combined lead to 3.7 trillion dollars in savings. Some of the top areas include buildings (energy efficiency), farm yields, and food waste. McKinsey suggests that there is a 252 billion (2010 dollars) opportunity in the area of food waste.
Some of the issues contributing to food waste in developed nations included a lack of storage facilities and infrastructure. Between 20 and 30 percent of food waste occurs before it ever reaches the consumer. Cutting food waste upstream would have significant impacts on both energy use and food security.
McKinsey identified a lack of information as a significant barrier when it comes to food waste. Without proper tracking and monitoring mechanisms there is no way to properly account for food waste at each stage in the supply chain. “Gathering data within and across countries will be crucial to support concerted efforts to reduce food waste.” Measuring food waste is important to ensure technologies are applied in the right way.
Another important issue to resolve is that we don’t price goods at the appropriate level. The McKinsey report explains that “removing agriculture, energy, and waste subsidies and putting the price of $30 per tonne on carbon emissions would significantly improve the attractiveness of productivity opportunities to private-sector invenstors.” This is important for the consumer as well. We would treat food resources differently if they reflected the true cost.
The take away message is that food waste is a huge opportunity– a 252 billion dollar opportunity to be exact. Forward thinking operators and executives, especially in the foodservice realm, can achieve significant savings by using food resources more efficiently and cutting waste out of the picture.