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Food loss hotspots

Human errors caused by a lack of standardised procedures and insufficient training are the major drivers behind loss in food manufacturing, a new study has found[8]. Researchers at Brunel University London and Ghent University, Belgium, studied the production processes at 47 food manufacturers in Belgium to determine where the highest losses were observed.

They found that human error accounted for 10.9% of all food waste, second only to the losses (13%) recorded as a result of product change (changing the food output of a manufacturing facility). A further 8.7% was attributed to product defects and 6.4% as a result of buyer contracts. The team also identified the relationship a company has with its suppliers and customers as being an area of significant loss, especially when considering seasonal goods.

The researchers gathered data from a wide variety of companies, ranging from ready-meal manufacturers producing 6,300 tonnes of food per year, to drinks manufacturers producing nearly 130,000 tonnes of products per year. On average the manufacturers suffer a loss of one tonne of food for every 35 tonnes they produce.

Many manufacturers – particularly the smaller ones – were unaware of how much food they were wasting as they did not measure what was thrown away. They were surprised to seem how much they were losing in monetary terms.



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