Spoiler Alert is a Boston-based, venture-backed technology startup helping the world’s largest food businesses manage unsold inventory more effectively. Spoiler Alert uses an online platform that enables food businesses, farms, and nonprofits to create and recover value from food and organic waste. Their software allows food businesses to track and analyze the products they are and aren’t recovering, and creates an online marketplace for real-time food donations, discounted sales, and organic waste recovery opportunities.
Spoiler Alert’s new eBook, Using Data to Drive Food Loss and Waste Reductions, highlights the importance of using data to prevent food loss and waste. Reflecting on the new eBook, here are three takeaways to take into consideration.
Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Reduction is important
It’s estimated that 30-40 percent of food that is produced in America goes to waste. This wasted food can be detrimental to a company’s economic costs, as food manufacturers and consumer-facing businesses collectively spend almost $60 billion annually on food that never reaches the plate. Also, food loss and waste (FLW) contributes significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing FLW can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural industry and, more specifically, can reduce methane gas emissions from wasted food that ends up in a landfill.
Data is the Key!
Comprehensive data is the key to accomplishing effective Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Reduction strategies. Data shows why losses occur in operations, which areas provide the biggest opportunity for improvement, and how to continuously make progress towards goals. In short, using data will allow food manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and grocery retailers to better manage unsold inventory and reduce the volume of food sent to landfill.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the missing link
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow a business to interpret the effectiveness of its Food Loss and Waste (FLW) Reduction strategy, and allocate resources appropriately based on performance of initiatives. Two of the most important KPIs include shrink ratio and recovery ratio. The shrink ratio highlights loss as a percentage of inventory, as a high ratio indicates potential problems in the area of sales, merchandising, or operations. The recovery ratio evaluates the success of initiatives that are meant to recover a greater share of a food company’s surplus inventory. When the recovery ratio is low, this indicates that recovery efforts need be improved. KPIs are essential in establishing a baseline for improvement in FLW reduction strategies.
America’s top food service providers, major food company executives, and leading food distributors are now committing to food loss and waste reduction strategies. As the fight against food waste intensifies, more of America’s largest companies will be forced to produce their own food loss and waste reduction strategies in order to compete against those companies that are already on the forefront. As the number of companies facing the challenge of food loss and waste increases, food waste may eventually become a thing of the past.