The Industry 4.0 Solution to Eliminate Food Waste
With the continuous destruction of forests and depletion of natural resources, there is a possibility that we will run out of food someday. Hunger is now a global problem, and at the speed at which we consume and throw away goods, there might not be enough to feed the growing population worldwide. However, the United Nations World Food Programme (UN WFP) states that global hunger is not about a lack of food. Right now, the world produces enough to feed every person on the planet.
So what is the root cause of global hunger?
While factors vary from region to region, food loss, along with chronic poverty, conflict, and economic shocks, is why people around the world do not have access to food. UN WFP also stated that all the food produced but never eaten is sufficient to feed two billion people—twice the number of undernourished people worldwide.
In developing countries, food waste happens at harvest time. Poor storage facilities and lack of access to technology lead to significant damage to crops. For industrialized countries, more than 40 percent of these losses occur at retail and consumer levels. Wholesale and retail system inefficiencies in planning, management, and labeling lead to food being thrown away.
If that isn’t enough, inefficient supply chains contribute to discarded food and climate change. Food decomposition in landfills in the US results in 23 percent of US methane—80 times more potent than carbon dioxide emissions.
This means that if hunger does not get to us first, then climate change will.
As daunting as this may sound, technology is evolving, and there is now a solution for inefficient food supply chains: Industry 4.0 technology.
World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab coined industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the “blurring boundary between the physical and digital world.” Industry 4.0 uses technology that increases the efficiency of human lives.
Smartphones are the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to efficiency, but what about commercial manufacturing? The answer is blockchain—a technological advancement that brings traceability to all aspects of the supply chain, including product lifecycle.
One of the main benefits of enterprise blockchain includes decentralizing trust, meaning it distributes security away from a central point of failure to many different points. There is no single point of failure in the system, so many areas need to be simultaneously hacked to compromise a system. This creates a magnitude of difficulty in tampering with data written to a blockchain.
Real Items provides this enterprise blockchain solution for businesses that want to upgrade their warehouse system. In this upgrade, products will have their own digital identity stored in a single smart label such as a QR code. Think of it as an upgraded Stock Keeping Unit or SKU. Once scanned by a smartphone, each digital identity will provide necessary information such as place of origin, harvest and expiration dates, prices, etc. This digitization ensures a fast, secure, and accurate auditing process, so you won’t have to go through the nightmare of manually managing data.
The Real Items Industry 4.0 solution also gives proof of origin, which reduces food loss through better waste management. Its track-and-trace technology gives food industries accurate data on its produce. Organic food that is about to spoil can be sold to a third party or another farm that uses organic produce to feed or maintain their livestock’s organic certification. Real Items technology allows raw materials to be better managed, reused, and upcycled instead of thrown away.
Timing is crucial for waste management. Spoilage and expiration dates give products a countdown to how long they will remain usable. Businesses that do not have trusted networks are at a disadvantage because the necessary paperwork takes weeks before third parties can approve it.
For Real Items CEO David Menard, having an interoperable and secure system optimizes waste management in real-time.
“Due diligence takes time and siloed systems are at a disadvantage with regards to spoilage and expiration dates. What we’re doing in Real items is giving businesses the necessary information so they can extend the life of resources. Instead of having only one predetermined use, resources can have a variety of uses at different stages in its product life cycle,” he said.
With Real Items technology, your international supply chain won’t have to worry about trust as all the information is stored on the blockchain. This means your supply chain information can easily sync wherever your products are worldwide. Real Items technology is also fast, accurate, and tamper-proof so that you can trace for accountability every step of the way.
With today’s tools and environment, innovation is accessible to everyone. The innovation that comes with Real Items Industry 4.0 solutions maximizes available resources and provides compounding value. This value can be enjoyed not only by your business and customers but also by the world at large.
Let’s build a responsible world where no food is wasted, no useful resources are discarded, and nature is respected.