Can Logistics And Packaging Innovation Alleviate The Food Waste Crisis?

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Are you one of those who often throw away expired food? If the answer is Yes, this article
could change your perspective, and, possibly, your way of living altogether.
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Tesco Lotus recently announced that it will stop displaying ‘best before’ or the expiry date on fresh produce packages, the aim being to come to the aid of consumers prematurely disposing fresh food. The announcement came as a result of research findings that more than 84% of consumers discard edible foods just because of the expiry dates on the labels and packages, which is causing the food waste crisis taking place worldwide. Tesco’s decision, however, has brought about broad disputes by consumers with opposing views. On the one hand, some consider the partial labeling unfair as well as an improper way of applying patches that creates new problems. In Thailand, for example, some people believe such neglect and wastefulness reflects the fact that the community at large is unaware of the crisis beyond acceptable. Others who believe disposing expired items is necessary say the superficial vision, policy and preparation altogether has led to subpar infrastructure that is unconducive for proper waste management, i.e., the ability to turn perishable waste into invaluable fertilizer on the communal level as well as reduce, reuse and recycle non-perishables. It starts with properly labeled trash bins and a small garden, that’s all it takes.

The Pollution Control Department reported statistics from 2017 to shed light on communal waste predicaments in Thailand: a staggering 1.13 kg of waste is produced per capita on a daily basis. The stats fits the pattern of the rapid urbanization, globalization and population proliferating the world over. The good old saying “don’t litter where you sleep” with expletive replaced seems increasingly relevant when imagining a neglected scenario of a waste sight piled up as high as a tall building in the middle of an urban area. This explains why organizations in both government and private sectors have jumped in to join forces in alleviating the seriousness of the waste crisis.

A number of logistics business operators, on the other hand, are paying more attention to eco-friendly solutions. New logistics modes such as farm-to-table have emerged to provide agricultural goods delivery services from farms directly to consumers as a means to help farmers become self-reliant without having to depend on middlemen. Besides, this proves to help reduce packaging waste as well as reduce delivery procedure complexity and shorten delivery time between producers and consumers.

As the Thai society is tackling a food waste crisis, SCG keeps moving forward while focusing on business administration ideology that adheres to sustainable development, be it in the aspect of economy, society or environment, with the objective to ease the aforementioned crisis.

In the areas of logistics business and inventory management, SCG Logistics has continuously operated while adhering to the Green Logistics Management concept as we firmly believe that swift and efficient logistics process can effectively extend product life. Our business has expanded into cold chain industry through a joint venture with Nichirei Logistics Group to set up SCG Nichirei Logistics Co., Ltd. to extend the shelf or storage life of perishable products, thereby maintaining the quality of fresh foods during storage with proper temperature at every step before the products are delivered. The services include both import and export as well as delivery to consumers with temperature-controlled trucks.

Temperature-controlled parcel transport services, known as Cool TA-Q-BIN, by SCG Express is another service that can more or less address food waste crisis as it ensures suitable temperature of goods inside the parcel from start all the way to destination. Thus, the product is always fresh at the time of delivery.

In addition, SCG Packaging Public Co., Ltd. has embarked on packaging research and development. A result is The EthlMov which absorbs ethylene (a hormone responsible for aging and ripening processes in fruit and vegetable) and thus can retard the ripening process and help retain product freshness. Another result is Optibreath, developed to retard the withering process and thus extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetable. Such packaging innovations not only prove to reduce loss, rotting and deterioration of fruits and vegetables but also prolong storage life during transportation, thereby helping reduce food waste.

If new logistics technology or packaging innovations can in the future reduce delivery time to better extend shelf life, the amount of food waste is bound to further decrease. On the other hand, as a civilised society requires adhering to higher standards of behavior and policy that reflects education and culture of the members; the way we handle our trash always reveals who we really are. Waste, i.e., including pollution incurred on behalf of our personal consumption, as well. Thus, the rise of the Conscious Consumerism and the Green New Deal movement around the world. In Japan, the tenable underlying philosophy is the ancient wisdom of Mottainai; “What a waste!”. In Thailand, it sits at the very center of our Por-Piang identity. Innovation can make leap and bound progress, and so has the good old concept of backyard gardening.

3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Compiled by BLOG.SCGLogistics

References: mthai.com, thairath.co.th, posttoday.com, brandbuffet.in.th, eatecon.com

Photos:  scgexpress.co.th, freepik.com

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