• Food and Packaging Waste
    • 28 AUG 18

    How You Can Reduce Food & Packaging Waste

    Globally, it is estimated that one third of the food produced for human consumption – around 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted every year[1]. A joint initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP) in 2013 claimed that 54% of global food waste occurs during production, post-harvest handling and storage, with the remaining 46% due to processing, distribution and at consumption stage. Food manufacturers can help reduce food waste by utilizing technology on their production lines.

    The Impact:

    Discarded food – irrespective of whether the contents and/or container are biodegradable or not – equates to loss of income, labor and increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which add to global warming and climate change. Food wastage has now become the third largest source of GHG emissions[2] .

    How product inspection technologies help:

    Detecting contaminants early

    Integrating contaminant detection technologies early in the production process will remove any product containing unwanted foreign bodies. This protects downline processing equipment and ensures contaminants are removed before additional value is added. This can in turn help in minimizing wastage costs.

    Suitable Technologies: X-ray Inspection, Metal Detection

    Detecting foreign bodies at the end of the production line

    To ensure that the packaged food is safe for consumption, contaminant detection technologies should inspect every product before it leaves the facility. All contaminated packages are identified and removed from the production line. Following investigation into the cause of the food safety breach, it may be possible to rework the product and/or packaging thereby protecting profits and avoiding waste.

    Suitable Technologies: X-ray Inspection, Metal Detection

    Checking product integrity and package presentation

    Inspection technologies can perform numerous quality assurance checks from inspecting for missing components, fill levels and seal integrity i.e. identifying missing caps, trapped product under the seal or verifying tamper-proof seals. Non-conforming packaged food can be reworked, which reduces the likelihood of product recalls and reduces wastage costs. Integrity inspections such as checking fill levels and seal integrity, remove the risk of bacterial contamination occurring during the distribution and storage stages further reducing unnecessary wastage.

    Suitable Technologies: X-ray Inspection, Vision Inspection

    Inspecting label accuracy

    Verifying the accuracy of the label including its position and content (including allergen declarations), will avoid unnecessary product recalls and their associated costs. Vision Inspection technologies inspect each label in real-time, based on established parameters such as lot numbers, bar codes and use-by dates. Accurate use-by dates also help to avoid unnecessary wastage for the manufacturer, retailer and consumer.

    Suitable Technologies: Vision Inspection

    Precision weighing

    To comply with Weights & Measures and prevent product recalls, each product must be equal to or within tolerance of the weight stated on the label. Any underfilled products detected before leaving the production line can be reworked thereby avoiding wastage costs. The flipside of this is that manufacturers can also prevent costly giveaway.

    Suitable Technologies: Checkweighing

    Minimizing false reject rates

    It is vital that contaminant detection technologies are adjusted correctly so only non-conforming products are rejected and no ‘good’ product is wasted. This is achieved through regularly testing detection sensitivity levels and by integrating product inspection technologies, which utilize intelligent software algorithms and Multi-Simultaneous Frequency technology.

    Suitable Technologies: X-ray Inspection, Metal Detection

    Choosing the right reject mechanism

    Product inspection systems come with a range of reject mechanisms to suit any application. For example, during bulk-flow food production, multi-scoop rejects and sealtite reject valves minimize the amount of ‘good’ product that is rejected during the removal of non-conforming product.

    Suitable Technologies: X-ray Inspection, Metal Detection

    Technology advancements in product inspection can help in the fight to reduce global food waste that is impacting us all – economically and environmentally. By minimizing unnecessary wastage, manufacturers can also protect their business and manufacturing profits.

    To find out more about How Ensuring Conformity of Packaged Food can benefit your business, please download our free white paper.

    [1] http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/
    [2] https://climatenewsnetwork.net/food-waste-worsens-ghg-emissions-fao/

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