Food waste in America is just that, a waste, a really big waste. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, food waste accounts for about 40% of all the food produced in the United States. That is a huge amount of nutrition that simply goes to waste. In terms of cost, it’s about $165 billion dollars worth of food.
Technology In The Food Chain
Technology is influencing buying and selling decisions of surplus or over produced inventory of perfectly good food. There are a few companies that I have recently become aware of who’s mission it is to get surplus food into the hands of those who need it.
Spoiler Alert and Food Maven are two of them. These are enterprise level systems that connect food producers to food sellers to non-profits. Spoiler Alert caught my attention so here is what I learned from them.
The Spoiler Alert website states, “Spoiler Alert enables food companies, farms, and non-profits of all sizes to manage unsold food inventory in one place.”
Spoiler Alert has made it their mission to match unsold food inventory with those who need it. The company has developed a sophisticated enterprise platform and introduced advanced inventory management, accounting, and reporting capabilities to help food producers and businesses reduce the cost of unsold inventory and maximize their tax deductions for food donations.
By letting food producers place their unsold inventory into the Spoiler Alert system, the company can create secondary markets for discount buyers as well as non-profits like food banks.
A three prong approach
- First, there is inventory management at the item level. This provides insight into donation efforts. It also improves the traceability for food transactions.
- The system also provides automated accounting that maximizes savings. It is also audit ready with an integrated tax deduction calculator.
- The third prong is donation and KPI reporting. This is where all charitable food donations are managed in one place. You can also track important financial, social, and environmental metrics.
Spoiler Alert is managing a complex problem and it’s doing a very good job of it.
Even without a system like Spoiler Alert grocery stores can do a lot on their own.
- Relax cosmetic standards
- Mark down products
- Repurpose food within the store
- Donate to non-profits
- Feed animals
I applaud Spoiler Alert’s efforts for first recognizing massive food waste in this country for the serious problem that it is. Then working through the complexities that result in a win win for all concerned.