an opportunity to develop the desired economy for agribusiness [Tribune]

In France, about 10 million tons of food products are thrown into the garbage every year. The solution to this problem is a strong public choice, its challenge is threefold: ethical, economic and environmental. Many sources of waste can be avoided if all players come together around a collective project to identify and implement measures to prevent, reduce and recover waste.

Food loss and waste, what are we talking about?

In the 2013 national pact against waste, food waste is defined as: “any food intended for human consumption that is lost, discarded, or deteriorated at any stage of the food chain.” All sources of losses or waste along the chain must be taken into account: we are mostly talking about upstream losses in the production and processing stages, which are subject to specific restrictions, and waste in the distribution and consumption stages. .

It is estimated that 18% of produce intended for human consumption is lost, wasted or spoiled each year. This amounts to 15.3 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (Mteq), or about 3% of total emissions, and a theoretical commercial value of €16 billion. The topic is of ethical value (equality of food availability), but also economically and ecologically important.

A more advanced maturity in this regard, as the downstream (distribution and consumption, which accounts for 47% of waste, but also 40% of commercial value and 70% of carbon emissions) is addressed through collaborations between distributors, start-ups demonstrates. and RHD (Non-Retail Network) players through prevention (consumer education), reduction (total use of raw materials in RHD) and recovery (food methanation/composting) initiatives. The most frequently mentioned downstream is less than half (53%) of the total volume of waste. However, food losses and wastes affect all links of the value chain.

How can the sources of losses and waste be better identified in order to limit them?

In the overall equation of food loss and waste across the entire value chain, it is important to isolate the preventable part in order to identify the causes and incorporate clear and robust action plans into the collective project. “A twisted carrot is good for soup!” recalls speaker Bruno Parmentieri. Indeed, some food products do not leave the field due to the strict standards of appearance and size established among various actors. However, these standards can be revised to educate the end consumer (see the success of the Ugly Fruits and Vegetables campaign) and give them choice. These products can also be included in special recovery schemes (see Bon et Rebond launch). A common and cross-functional management system for sales forecasts among players would allow to reduce overproduction and/or balance surpluses and shortages. Incentivizing actors to create value and social influence to define and implement new valuation schemes will thus create new outputs.

On the other hand, it is more difficult to prevent losses and wastes with some sources of losses and wastes, especially in the production and processing stages, such as mechanization-related losses or logistical hazards (chain breakage, breakage). ).

Accelerate food loss and waste reduction through integrated ecosystems.

Limiting food loss and waste will have undeniable benefits for society and the planet: redistribution of resources towards higher value outcomes, food availability for the poorest, better food balance, reduction of carbon emissions… the food chain must reconcile positive impact and economic impact. value in the logic of “producing less but better”. Value-creating elements can enter the equation, such as contributing to one’s CSR obligations, providing certain raw materials in the face of shortages, increasing attractiveness for customers and employees, valuing the company on non-financial aspects, even creating new valuation channels.

This desired economy will emerge when coalitions are formed among actors in the form of integrated ecosystems. Companies that can hybridize their traditional organizations with integrated ecosystems will gain sustainability and overall performance. Alliances around projects of collective interest will solve problems by expanding complementary resources (experts, material resources, financial resources). These integrated ecosystems are likely to “break old rules” (food quality and appearance standards), identify and deploy new value-added channels (direct sales or processing of unripe fruits and vegetables), refine collaboration on sales forecasts.

In fact, this food emergency is an ideal use case to promote the integrated ecosystem concept and apply it to other key issues in the sector. However, there are prerequisites for operational success: a common collective project framework, clarification of roles and responsibilities, definition of governance over decision-making powers, and an objective evaluation system.

About the author :
Arnaud Baloche is an engineer, graduated from AgroCampus Rennes and holds an MBA from Hult International Business School. After several years of experience in agricultural companies, he joined a strategy consulting company Kea & Partners, is a benchmark in the Brands and Trademarks sector. He is involved in strategic projects and deep transformation of consumer goods players.

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