In developing countries that lack access to a reliable power grid, approximately 40% of total food production perishes before it can be sold or consumed.
2. Technology Summary:
ColdHubs is a modular, solar powered cold room, where farmers can pay per crate to store produce to prevent it from spoiling.
The cold rooms use solar panels mounted on the roof generate electricity to power a refrigeration unit to keep the room between 8 and 16 degrees Celsius
ColdHubs can extend the shelf life of perishable food from 2 to 21 days and can potentially reduce post-harvest loss by 80% percent, reducing food waste and enabling farmers to sell a larger portion of their crops.
Governments in developing nations
Produce more cold storage units for use in communities
Educate farmers about the benefits of cold storage, to promote the use of the technology
Work with NGOs, governments, communities to disseminate and install Coldhubs in areas in need
The article notes that this technology would help New York City divert 30 percent of its waste stream from landfill. However, I’m skeptical of the feasibility of requiring New New Yorkers to compost their organics. I believe that in reality this solution would result in a much waste lower diversion rate.
Zéro Gâchis, a French web and mobile application, provides a platform for businesses to inform consumers in real-time when those businesses have food reaching expiration. This food can then be purchased by app users at discounted prices. It uses geo-location to connect users with the discounts in their area. App users can also gain points on the site each time they take advantage of discounts. These points can be converted into cash and directed towards food waste charities such as Banque Alimentaire.
This technology aims to close the information gap between consumers and food providers, producing a win-win solution for both. Consumers will be able to purchase soon-to-expire food at discounted rates while supermarkets can reduce the amount of food that goes to waste if not sold. France throws away approximately 750, 000 tonnes of perishable food annually. This app has been able to successfully decrease food waste by 50% in some of its participating supermarkets.
As such reducing the amount of food wasted translates into a reducing the environmental footprint associated with food production. In France, it is estimated that food alone is responsible for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions everyday. This app will help decrease the waste of food and resources that go into its production.
Supermarkets and Food providers
Food waste charities
Launched in 2011, the startup has grown since and are now also operating in Spain. Their business model has evolved to become more economically sustainable after engaging with various mentors and joining “Le Camping”, a French business incubator. They kept the service free for consumers but began to charge participating supermarkets a monthly subscription. Despite the fee, Zéro Gâchis has been able to engage with more supermarkets who understand the value of the application – it allows them to better manage and clear their inventory, reducing the amount of food that goes to waste due to expiration. This money allows the startup to continue to develop and improve existing services. With a bigger network, the startup can aim to expand their reach in France, Spain and consider moving into other countries.
Food waste is a global economic and environmental problem and in the U.S. alone accounts for $29 BN annually. While many people are food insecure, food that is perfectly fine for consumption gets thrown out because of confusion surrounding expiration dates, sell by dates and best buy dates. Many of these date labels are inconsistent and do not actually indicate the food’s safety but rather is the manufacturer’s estimate of the product’s freshness or best taste.
Bump Mark is a different type of food label – it’s patent pending technology is bio-reactive so that the label degrades at the same rate of the food, turning the gelatin layer into liquid which creates bumps on the packaging that the consumer can feel to assess if the food is bad or not. If it is smooth, the product is fine to eat, if there are bumps- time to discard.
The composition of the label is illustrated below:
Bump Mark was created by designer Solveiga Pakštaitė who developed it while studying at London’s Brunel University. Currently Bump Mark is used for various meats and Pakstaite is exploring other plant-based options that could be used for different types of foods. With a “living”, reactive label consumers could better understand if their food was still fit for consumption without relying on expiry dates.
Consumers of food
Pakstaite’s firm Design by Sol firm is currently looking for partners so that the labels can be fully developed and launched. Possible hurdles to launch could be regulatory requirements, as in the U.S. for example, the FDA would have oversight. There could also be push back from the food industry, who may see a reduction in sales if consumers are wasting less but also consuming else as a result.
Sustainability Problem: Waste management – 40% of US food supply ends up in the trash.
Technology: Providing data, transparency, and hardware for “upcycling” or reducing food waste. These types of products can include those that link wholesalers with food that may go to waste soon with restaurants at a significant discount OR provide hardware or services to generate fertilizer, animal feed, or human food from food waste. More and more startups are emerging that create new products out of food waste, such as Back to the Roots which sells mushroom kits made from used coffee grounds and Wtrmln Wtr which sells watermelon juice made from melons which were un-sellable in grocery stores.
Implementation: (1) Identify points of major food waste (from manufacturers, grocers, consumers, etc. and analyze data to understand and prioritize biggest areas of waste to focus (2) Partner with providers and consumers of identified area of food waste to pilot process and technology for one location (3) Scale with existing partners to additional locations or manufacturing plants
Protein for livestock production has become very expensive and has severe environmental implications to produce: producing agricultural protein uses a lot of land space and energy, and any protein derived from fish meal has serious marine life impacts.
AgriProtein uses food waste to harvest fly larvae, which eats the food waste during the process, and turn it into agricultural protein. Before the larvae becoming flies, they are harvested and turned into “MagMeal” which is then delivered to chicken and fish farms.
This not only provides a cheaper form of agricultural protein but also helps to eliminate the amount of garbage wasted. As we currently waste roughly one-third (1.3 billion tonnes) of waste per year (FAO), the supply of raw materials for this technology is also abundant.
chicken and fish producers (customers)
engineers (of technology)
Restaurants/Retailers/ Farms who are disposing of food waste (suppliers)
Increase funding to expand these fly farms around the world
Locate in areas near both chicken/fish farms as well as near large retailers to reduce transportation costs.
Develop strong relations with restaurants/retailers/ farms etc. who are looking to dispose of their food waste as well as with chicken/fish farms (who may also provide a source for additional food waste if an of their products die on the farm.)
Educate chicken and fish farmers on the benefits of this protein
since the chicken in the chicken industry are typically owned by the large integrators (i.e. Tysons, Perdue etc.) who have a large say in what their products eat, this step may also include educating the large companies on the benefits of AgriProtein.