Turn Food Waste Into Profit with Real Items Industry 4.0 Solution
Have you ever been guilt-tripped into finishing your meal? Maybe, during your younger years, your parents gave you an earful about how “people around the world are starving so you shouldn’t waste your food.” While this may not make sense—finishing a meal does not help to stop global hunger—it reminds us to be aware of how much food is wasted every day.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 30 percent of the world's food is lost or wasted. On a macro scale, this loss causes a domino effect, as the globalized food supply system has led to the demand for food in the West, driving up prices of food grown for export in developing countries. The globalized food supply system displaces the growth of crops that feed native populations and drives accelerated degradation of natural habitats. This problem is a massive market inefficiency that requires a radical solution.
So how do we solve the problem of food waste?
Just like any other problem, we start by gathering more information and understanding the problem.
The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an industry-led initiative focused on reducing food waste, collected data from food manufacturers, retailers, and wholesale restaurants through a food waste survey. Of these segments FWRA collected data from, only 6.2 % of the Manufacturing sector and 35.3% of the Retail/wholesale sector responded.
Table 1. Manufacturing Respondents
Table 2. Retail/Wholesale Respondents
1. SURVEY FINDINGS: FOOD MANUFACTURING SECTOR
Nine food manufacturers responded with a combined total annual sales volume of $55.8 billion. They represent over 275 manufacturing locations and over 760 food warehouses.
The manufacturing sector reported that total food waste was over 10.6 billion pounds. Of this staggering number, nearly 97% was recycled, while only 1.7% was disposed of in landfills. The other 1.5% of food was donated.
1-A. PROBLEMS WITH RECYCLING
Aside from their top diversion destinations, the manufacturing respondents were also asked if any barriers existed to donating more food and recycling food waste. 100% of manufacturers identified obstacles to recycling. This number is significantly higher compared to the 2012 and 2014 reports wherein 91% and 70% of respondents, respectively, identified the same challenges of insufficient recycling options. This is an area that Real Items can help, for example, in creating an open, decentralized marketplace for outside companies to acquire food waste. Today it is difficult, but with Real Items, FWRA can enable greater access to options.
1-B. AREAS OF INVESTMENT
Some areas of investment highlighted by the respondents were on increasing, measuring, tracking, and reporting food waste. In a nutshell, accurate tracking of food waste remains a challenge for many companies. The manufacturing respondents are investing and working with third-party companies to improve the tracking, collecting, and reporting of data. If your manufacturing company is currently facing the same data struggle, Real Items offers a solution to digitize your warehouse and supply chain for accurate, real-time information gathering, tracking and reporting.
2. SURVEY FINDINGS: RETAIL/WHOLESALE SECTOR
For the retail/wholesale sector, FWRA received responses from 24 food retailers/wholesalers with a combined total annual sales of $300.2 billion. They represent over 10,700 retail locations, 100 manufacturing locations, and over 130 food warehouses.
When it comes to food diversion, FWRA reported that the retail/wholesale sector had the most even spread of food waste across destinations in 2016.
Figure 5. Destination of food waste (in pounds), retail/wholesale respondents
As shown in Figure 7, the majority of retail food waste (54.3%) is recycled, while the other half is disposed of (27.6%) and donated (18.1%).
2-A. PROBLEMS WITH RECYCLING
When it comes to diverting food waste, retail/wholesale respondents also identified barriers to recycling. The most commonly cited obstacle to recycling food waste was the transportation constraints while 38% of respondents reported insufficient recycling options as a challenge.
When analyzed with the food processing cycle, other impediments such as a lack of transparency, immutability, and real-time data generation were discovered. FWRA’s respondents also reported that the insufficient recycling options were caused by the struggle to get suitable internal systems in place.
One resounding theme across all sectors was the challenge many companies face in accurately measuring and tracking food waste. According to FWRA, 49% of respondents could not provide data on the quantity of food waste their companies disposed of. Thus, FWRA could not get a clear picture of how disposed food waste compares to the amount of food donated and amount of food waste recycled.
Considering these issues, there is a lack of information. The other barriers stated not only cause businesses to lose profit, but the added waste also harms the environment. Countless enterprises have already implemented waste management systems, but not all of them can maximize the process and create a sustainable approach. Fortunately, innovative and cutting-edge technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Blockchain can address these issues.
Real Items has designed and developed enterprise products that can solve the stated pain points. Our decentralized products follow industry 4.0, USDA, FDA, and IREC standards. It gives all end-to-end connected supply chain customers access to the ledger, real-time activities, and verified collected data.
Real Items products also solve real-time issues with automation and digitization. Our solution helps businesses save time and money while promoting a sustainable and circular economy. Real Items technology creates a new economy that increases market share and benefits all players in the supply chain.
Real Items has three enterprise products:
1. TOKENIZED ASSET MANAGER (TAM)
The Tokenized Asset Manager or TAM is the Real Items enterprise-facing product. Its intuitive and easy-to-use design allows enterprise managers to create Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) and batches of digital identities based on those SKUs. TAM also enables businesses to manage real-time inventory distribution and check the products’ global analytics. The product analytics also includes a direct line of communication with customers’ data analysis and metrics.
Here’s a breakdown of the product’s features:
The Dashboard provides an at-a-glance overview of everything relevant to the company’s Real Items integrations and digital identities. The Dashboard is customizable, so your company’s chart analytics can be surfaced here, and you won’t have to dig further down to find relevant information.
Products and Inventory
The Products and Inventory section is for creating and managing the company products. It contains all the product information such as product name, price, digital identities, etc. A TAM user can navigate this section to create batches of digital identities (QR codes and one-time pins) associated with the actual units they produce.
This is where an administrator can set up accounts and access for people within the company. The administrators can choose what roles and privileges to give in terms of being able to add/edit data.
The Item Explorer is used to look up individual digital identities or Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) by their IDs. It also shows the total number of NFTs created by your company.
Tracker is the mobile application used by warehouse workers to trace and input information on warehouse products. The application is intuitive—workers only have to scan Real Items QR codes on each product to log each tracking event to the blockchain. Because all the information is on the blockchain, it is tamper-proof and synced wherever the product may be around the globe.
3. REAL ITEMS WALLET
The Real Items Wallet is a mobile application designed to allow the end-consumer to verify, take ownership, and manage the digital identities of the items they collect. It is a mobile-first web app that requires no installation. After a user verifies and takes ownership of an item, they can access all of the content and services associated with that item.
To verify the authenticity and claim ownership of a phygital product, you can scan the QR code on an item and provide the accompanying PIN.
After claiming a product’s digital identity, you will be given access to its relevant information. A drawer icon on the lower part of the screen will show three tabs: Features, Services, and Controls.
The Features tab contains the main photo image, a message, and a Gallery of images for that item.
The Services tab contains several icons including:
- Blockchain Icon - Clicking the Blockchain icon will display blockchain information associated with the creation of this item.
- Certificate of Analysis Icon - Clicking the Certificate of Authority icon will display the Certificate of Authority document.
The Controls tab includes a link allowing you to download the Certificate of Authority document to your device.
All Real Items products play a role in the supply chain.
The Tokenized Asset Manager (TAM) is used by the enterprise managers to create digital identities for the physical products during the production stage.
Warehouse employees use Tracker throughout the international supply chain to trace the products. Lastly, the Real Items Wallet is used by the consumers to verify the products’ authenticity.
Aside from proof of origin, the Real Items Wallet also includes instructions on disposing of products for recycling. This gives consumers the power to take responsible action on their purchases.
The three Real Items products have intricately made functions that work together throughout the supply chain. It is designed to automate systems to maximize available resources. Additionally, the collected data gives companies accurate numbers to understand what is needed to reduce the volume of surplus food generated. The compounding value from Real Items technology ensures a Circular Economy and that nothing goes to waste.
Looking to upgrade to a smart warehouse? BOOK A FREE CALL with our dedicated team and see how this sustainable technology can be applied to your enterprise, or join the conversation with Real Items in our DISCORD.