Addressing Food Loss and Waste - Examples

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Example 1: Packaging innovations: Bags developed from fruit waste in Malaysia

Scientists in Malaysia, on one hand, have introduced fruit waste-based plastic bags that could solve the degradable issue. The researchers at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) say they have developed FruitPlast by converting tropical fruit waste into flour, which is then fabricated into biodegradable plastic film. The plastic manufactured from these fruits stands up in both tensile strength and ‘elongation at break’ level, compared with normal plastic wraps, according to the scientists. The bags, which naturally degrade in three to six months and last one to two years on the shelf, cost 10% less than the current non-biodegradable plastic bags commercially used. Featured in Packaging Gateway, May 2010 issue.
(Source: FAO, 2011-b: p. 19)

Example 2: Packaging innovations: Edible food Packaging in Turkey

The edible packaging material is a product of the Turkish Scientists research using more flexible film compared to competing products on the market. The flexible film is made using egg white and corn protein and natural substances and can kill microbes in food. The new packaging is 500% more flexible than those currently on the market, as claimed and will soon be produced three to four years hence. Featured in Packaging Gateway, May 2010 issue.
(Source: FAO, 2011-b)

Packaging solutions for reducing food waste along the value chain
Loss situation and causes Selected packaging solutions
At production stage
Unnecessary variety of packaging types Universal packaging design
High amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per ton of production Modified atmosphere packaging

Integrated materials handling and warehouse management systems

Non-recyclable, wax-coated boxes for delicate perishables Recyclable packages with excellent moisture barrier

Reusable plastic containers

At post harvest stage
Inefficient product insulation Fibre reduction

Microflute technology

Manual case forming and stretch wrapping Automated processes reducing labour and material costs
Product spoilage and toxicity Anti-microbial packaging
At distribution stage
Damage due to palletizing, strapping Slip sheets and stretch wrapping in lieu of pallets and strapping
Damage due to mixed products on pallets Cube utilization via pin-wheeled position
At processing stage
Damage during transport Leak resistant packaging

Tough, tear-resistant packaging

Product spoilage Hermetic seals

Vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging

Loss of production Efficient equipment systems

System integration and automation

At wholesale stage
Inappropriate shipping containers Optimizing secondary packaging for shipping and shelf impact/appeal
Damage due to high humidity, storage time and stacking height Use of new materials with enhanced stacking strength

Modified atmosphere packaging

At retail stage
In-store preparation losses Centralized food preparation

In the bag merchandizing

Product spoilage Leak-resistant packaging

Vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging

Passed sale date Shelf-life extension

Freshness preservation

At consumption stage
Too much preparation Portion control packs

Ready-to-eat entrees

Spoilage Resealable packaging

Vacuum or modified atmosphere packaging

Not consumed prior to expiration date Shelf-life extension

Freshness preservation

(Source: Save Food and FAO, 2011: p. 12)

Example 3: Wakati

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In poor countries, a large share of produce goods is lost before they reach the market, especially through the lack of cold chains for fresh vegetables and fruits. These products dry out wither and get rotten before they even reach their buyer. The Belgian ‘Arne Pauwels’ designed a solution, the ‘Wakati’, meaning time in Swahili. The Wakati is an affordable and clean technology for extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, especially in warm and humid climates. It is a solution that creates a concealed environment for fruits and vegetables that answers to their post-harvest needs and protects them from fungi growth. With approximately 1 liter of water a week, the Wakati keeps the products fresh, around 200 to 400 kg., depending on the crop. The Wakati is currently in a test-phase and will soon go to the market.

More information can be found on

Example 4: Evaporative Cooling Chambers (ECC)/ Zero Energy Cool Chambers (ZECC)

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Evaporative cooling chambers (ECCs) – also known as “zero energy cool chambers (ZECCs)” – are low cost cooling options that do not require electricity. They can store multiple crops at one time and help farmers maintain water weight in their crops, reducing wilting and quality diminishment that hastens crops' decay and reduces marketability. Evaporative cooling chambers can be made from locally available materials including bricks, sand, wood, dry grass, gunny/burlap sack, and twine.

Case study: Global Knowledge Institute, 2014 Foundation Food Waste and Spoilage initiative Resource Assessment_GKI.pdf Reducing Global Food Waste and Spoilage: p. 23

More information can be found at D-Lab: Evaporative Cooling.

Example 5: Clay Pot Coolers/Zeer pots

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Clay pot coolers function on the same principles as evaporative cooling chambers, and have been used for centuries to help farmers reduce food spoilage and waste, increase their income, and limit the health hazards of spoiled foods. Clay pot coolers are typically used at the household level due to their simple construction and relatively small size. In the pot-in-pot design, commonly known as a “Zeer pot,” one pot is placed inside the other and the space in between the two containers is filled with sand, which retains the water added. Food is placed inside the interior pot, and both pots are covered with a lid or a damp piece of cloth. Alternative designs exist for clay pot coolers that can include a plastic or metal container inside a single clay pot or dish, or a single clay pot placed in a plastic or metal dish.

More information can be found at D-Lab: Evaporative Cooling.

Example 6: Dryers for Africa

[[Image:addressing food examples3.png|right|200px|] Example.jpg|Caption1 Example.jpg|Caption2 </gallery> </gallery> ] While most small scale farmers resort to open air solar drying, which is typically less efficient and unhygienic, there are other solutions. ‘Dryers for Africa’ distributes and sells solar dryers and forced air dryers. These extend shelf life for the year-round crops sale and consumption, reducing the risk of loss, decreasing the cost of storage and transportation, and they add price-enhancing value to the end product. The company has different types of dryers. Solar dryers require no electricity or specific skills (although literacy is advantageous and cheaper). They require only a secure sheltered location and access to clean water. Forced air dryers are more efficient, but more expensive and require electricity. The company sells products in multiple countries in Africa.

Case study: Global Knowledge Institute, 2014 Foundation Food Waste and Spoilage initiative Resource Assessment_GKI.pdf Reducing Global Food Waste and Spoilage, p. 25. More information can be found here:

Example 7: Rickshaws transporting milk in Bangladesh

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Rickshaws transporting milk from the countryside to processing plants in Baghabarighat, Banglasedh. Transporting milk in the warm and humid climate of Bangladesh without a proper cold chain may cause milk losses. The rickshaw transportation on narrow and winding roads prolongs the time milk is handled in warm temperatures.
(Source: FAO, 2011: p. 12)


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