Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food loss and food waste as “the decrease in quantity or quality of food along the food supply chain.” According to FAO, food loss occurs along the food supply chain from harvest up to the retail level, while food waste comes into play at the retail and consumption levels. This distinction is critical to understanding how targeted solutions can be used to reduce the staggering annual levels of food loss and food waste.
A recent State of Food and Agriculture FAO report claims 14% of the world’s food can be defined as lost. As of 2019, North America and Europe are the second-most wasteful areas, with 15.7% of the region’s food being lost. The report identifies five key areas where this is happening: at the farm, in storage, in transit, in the shop, and in the home.
Significant food loss can be attributed to inadequate storage, which comes as a result of poor temperature control and poor timing decisions in the supply chain, both of which will drastically reduce shelf life. Transit also plays a significant role, as adequate infrastructure and efficient trade logistics are necessary to minimize food loss. In fact, the majority of food lost in transit is attributed to poorly maintained facilities, technical malfunction and human error.
Once food actually arrives on the shelf, there are still significant issues. Supermarkets frequently store goods incorrectly, meaning a large portion of food will never make it to a consumer’s table.. Fortunately, intelligent solutions are being widely adopted to meet the challenge of reducing global food loss and waste.
In the era of connectivity, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are being deployed throughout the supply chain to actively monitor a key factor to food loss and waste: temperature fluctuations. According to the above FAO report, fruits and vegetables account for 21.6% of the total food lost, and roots, tubers and oil-bearing crops account for 25.3%. It’s estimated that just under half (46.9%) of these instances can be mitigated through temperature monitoring solutions. Through the deployment of AmbaSense low-power and long range (LoRa) IoT solution, real-time temperature monitoring can easily occur at different levels in the supply chain.
AmbaSense IoT sensors an provide grocers and supply chain companies with a versatile and scalable solution to combat temperature control issues. A typical deployment consists of an array of sensors connected to an intelligent network. Sensors send information, such as temperature data, to a LoRaWAN-based gateway and the information is then sent to a network server, and routed towards application servers or Cloud IoT services, where it is processed. Finally, the information will be sent to an end user’s smart device or computer.
Using our technology an employee can be notified in real time of a temperature fluctuation and address the fluctuation as needed. When connected up to an automated system, the sensors can notify the network of the fluctuation and automatically address the fluctuation to preserve the quality of food. The long range and automated capabilities of our IoT solution have been utilised by shipping containers and transport vehicles, where it is difficult for an employee to manually check and adjust the temperature. We are currently rolling out a combined temperature and GPS sensor.
For further information about automated monitoring please contact a member of the AmbaSense team
Telephone: 01609 600884