Bakery and food waste

“The vast majority of Canadian food waste takes place within the food industry – and not at the household level, study finds” … Reads a headline from the Globe and Mail, January 17, 2019.

What Role Does Automation Play in Helping to Reduce Food Waste?

Every day we strive to do better — sleeping, eating, exercise, productivity at the workplace and so on. And while we continue to strive to do better for ourselves, we often forget to pay attention to what our food waste may be on a global level. Most of us take food for granted but check this stat, in the U.S alone a study from 2011 showed that 40% of the food produced goes to waste.

For food manufacturers, I’ve heard that ingredient waste in one particular process was costing a manufacturer close to 15% of the cost to produce that item per year. After taking measurements to eliminate certain processes that were causing this loss, the company successfully reduced it by 12% down to 3%. That’s 12% right to the bottom line of that one product — any waste or loss has been paid for and is still money that has been spent. This cost must always be included in the menu price.

How much are you losing to ingredient waste due to incorrect measurements and inconsistent portioning?

After Ford motor Company pioneered modern automation in car building it wasn’t long before all other manufacturing industries took notice and began to implement their own automation plan. Automation hasn’t always been easy to implement and in some cases still isn’t. Change, financial investment and the pressure of unions and society standing up for workers being replaced by technology. I’m sure most of us can agree that we would prefer to buy from the local butcher, local farmer, local bakery and support the local economy and keep our people working. Try going the next year without buying anything on line or from big box stores. Automation is necessary in food manufacturing in order to:

  • Keep ingredient waste to a minimum
  • Control consistency
  • Stay competitive
  • Keep up with the demand
  • Offer multiple product categories

Food waste happens every day, all day. It’s impossible to put the blame on one specific contributor so let’s do our part as equipment manufacturers and make the best possible solutions for food manufacturers to keep waste at a minimum and consistency at a maximum.

Additional Resources for Studies on Food Waste – Supermarket Perimeter Sosland Publications –