How Tackling Food Loss Helps Restaurant Chains and Food-Related Companies Cut Costs and GHG

According to the USDA, roughly one-third of the food intended for human consumption in the U.S. is lost or wasted.

This loss is no secret to companies in the food industry. Every day, they pay the price for unsold product or crops, plate waste and refires, spoilage, and a host of other issues. The U.S. restaurant industry spends upwards of $160 billion on food waste each year; that figure balloons to more than $400 billion when accounting for food waste in the agricultural, manufacturing, retail, and residential sectors.

Food waste also takes a staggering social and environmental toll. With food prices climbing, hunger is rising in the U.S. even as food rots in landfills. Uncomposted waste emits methane and other greenhouse gasses equal to the annual emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. Globally, food loss and the energy used to produce it accounts for roughly 10 percent of human-caused GHG emissions.

As companies and investors recognize the impact of food loss on their bottom lines’ sustainability goals, more are looking to food waste tracking to measure and reduce costs and carbon emissions.

Companies that track their carbon footprint and develop a solid sustainability plan can go a long way toward reducing food waste while meeting financial and sustainability goals.

Garden of Life® Weeds Out Ingredient Waste

Take Nestlé’s Garden of Life brand, which utilizes the SustainaBase software platform to monitor, track, and set goals for reducing their ingredient and packaging waste and carbon emissions.

Garden of Life teamed up with SustainaBase to map its emissions across its entire supply chain, from seed to distribution. The company used the resulting data visualizations to better understand the impact of sourcing, packaging, ingredient, and operational decisions on a product level and further reduce waste and emissions.

In 2021, the vitamin and supplement producer was the first in the industry to become Certified Carbonfree® by Carbonfund.org. The move is a triple win for the company, its investors, and its customers — not to mention all of us.

How Carbon Accounting Cuts Food Loss

Food-related companies can cut waste costs in three key ways: by developing and maintaining an accurate carbon accounting system, by focusing on supply chain sustainability, and by introducing zero waste and closed system strategies.

For food manufacturers and suppliers, SustainBase can help you meet emerging buyer requirements around ESG. For example, we recently worked with a publicly traded food manufacturer to track waste and other emissions in order to exceed the guidelines of Walmart’s Project Gigaton program.

But sometimes, companies need help knowing where to start. SustainaBase has expertise in working with restaurants and other food-related companies to accurately track their carbon and waste footprints, develop an actionable sustainability plan, and effectively meet goals. Our data-driven approach meets the food industry’s most rigorous requirements and guidelines; our user-friendly platform makes it easy to dynamically manage and report on waste, water, carbon emissions, and more.

To learn more about our platform, book a demo.

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