Combating food wastage using smart label essay
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Combating food wastage using smart label.
Food wastage is a common problem globally. A study suggest that food worth billions of dollars is discarded while still in good condition every year (Sangeetha, & Vijayalakshmi, 2020). This represents a significant economic loss to the world. This wasted food also ends up in the waste streams which leads to methane production in those landfills. Food wastage leads to production of approximately 7% of greenhouse gases worldwide (Sangeetha, & Vijayalakshmi, 2020). Therefore, it is necessary to implement ways of avoiding food wastage and which can be used to combat food insecurity. Normal labeling is a major factor that led to food wastage in the households. According to research, approximately 90% of American households frequently discard edible food before it reaches its expiration date because they misinterpret the date label. This confusion over expiration date also adds up to food wastage in 20% of households in the U.K (Sangeetha, & Vijayalakshmi, 2020). This data suggests that, averagely, a household of four members spends approximately $275 to $450 on food that ultimately end up thrown away while still edible due to confusion resulting from label dates. Normal labeling system have so many variations across industries since there are no regulations to follow when deciding on the dates to use in the packages. Most consumers trust that the expiration dates provided in the food packages are correct while sometimes it may not be true. Furthermore, consumers fail to comprehend that food spoilage does not cause foodborne illness. Foodborne illness is caused by contamination of food (Eriksson, 2012). Therefore, safety handling of food should be the main concern to consumers rather than the age of the food. This can be sort using smart label.
Causes of food wastage
Who are affected by food wastage?
Stakeholder Title Affiliation/Position Related Problem Attitudes
Authority or Influence Consumers Food buyers Confused by normal dating system in food packages. Strongly believe in the expiration dates in the food packages. No authority to make changes to the dating system. Retailers Distribute food from producers to consumers. Make losses when consumers fail to buy food because of false expiration dates. Believe that food labeling is precise. Lack the authority to change the labeling system in food packages. Government Responsible for ensuring food security for the entire population. Wastage of edible food by the consumers as a result of poor labeling system led to food insecurity. There is little interest from the government to change the confusing labeling system used by the producers. High authority to demand for change in labeling system which can tackle the existing problem. People from poor regions Depend on food security. Food wastage causes food insecurity therefore less food is available for donation to poor areas. Are not highly interested on the labeling system. They lack authority to change the food labeling system to a system that can be precise to curb the problem of food wastage. Environmentalists Responsible for ensuring that the environment is safe from pollution. Food wasted ends up in the garbage which leads to emission of ethane gas that increases environmental pollution. They mistrust the normal labeling system for food packages. Have the influence to advocate for change in the labeling system of food packages to ensure that the dates provided are precise. Food producers Manufactures of the food. Most of the food produced ends up being wasted by households because of poor labeling system that confuses the consumers. This leads to wastage of resources that were used to produce the food. Their interest on food labeling correlates to that of consumer’s. when consumers have high interest for labeling of certain foods, the producers will provide a label of expiration for that specific food. In cases where there are no regulations to provide dates and the consumers are not interested, the producers will likely fail to provide expiration date. Have high authority to change the labeling system of food packages to provide precise expiry dates for food.
The problem of food wastage is a global problem with various stakeholders working together to find ways to resolve the problem. Resolving food wastage will ensure that there is enough food for everyone and that the surplus is donated to poverty-stricken areas. When this problem is resolved, the people who will benefit include, the consumers, households, food producers, retailers, government, people from poor areas and the environmentalist (Chen, Brahma, Mackay, Cao, & Aliakbarian, 2020). The consumers will benefit when a more precise system of labeling food expiration date is introduced. This will reduce their spending on food which ultimately end up discarded because of wrong expiration dates. A study suggests that the number of losses from preventable food wastage in Canada amounts to approximately $31 billion every year. Food wastage also have economic impacts (Chen, Brahma, Mackay, Cao, & Aliakbarian, 2020). Throwing away food that could possibly be eaten leads to wastage of naturally and human resources that were utilized to produce the foods. Therefore, resolving the issues of food wastage will ensure that the food producers benefit from the fact that their resources and efforts put in producing the food are not wasted. The government also records economic loss when edible food is discarded while still in good condition. This is because the cost of managing disposal and diversion of food wastes that are discarded in the garbage from the households are passed to the government through municipal utilities and services. Resolving the issue of food wastage because of poor labeling system will significantly reduce the cost of waste management by the government. Furthermore, dumpsites produce methane gases from discarded food from the households. Methane gas is more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide (Eriksson, 2012). This create a challenge to the environmentalists who are tasked with the role of ensuring that the environment is safe from harmful waste gases. Resolving the issue of food wastage will ultimately benefit the environmentalist by reducing the composition of toxic gases in the environment. The entire population will also benefit from the safe environment. Lastly, resolving the problem of edible food wastage will lead to recovery of more food that can aid in addressing food insecurities in poor areas therefore benefiting the population in the poverty-stricken communities (Eriksson, 2012).
Benefits of solving this problem is that the consumers will get a proper system that will help them determine the age of the food. Smart food labels will give consumers a variety of information such as nutritional statistics, product ingredients, allergy and storage recommendations, manufacturing location, and weight (Chen, Brahma, Mackay, Cao, & Aliakbarian, 2020). This information will aid the consumer to determine what food is appropriate for them to and avoid spending on food that they will throw away. The major benefit of smart label, therefore, will reduce food wastage which is a global problem. The smart label will also enable retailers to track the information about the food packages to prevent losses caused by unknowingly selling expired food packages to the consumers. Producers also benefits from the smart label by ensuring that time and effort used to produce food are not wasted when food is discarded. This smart label technologies are used by food producing companies to improve the functionality and information of labels to provide more in-depth instructions to the consumers which is not possible with the traditional printed labels (Chen, Brahma, Mackay, Cao, & Aliakbarian, 2020).
Element Description The problem of Confusion caused by expiry dates using normal labeling systems. Affects Consumers and retailers And result in Food wastage when consumers throw away food that are still edible. Benefit of a solution There will be reduced food wastage and consumer will spend less on food since there will be less wastage. Element Description The problem of Consumers fail to buy food because of false expiration dates in the food packages. Affects Retailers And result in Losses to retailers who are left with food that is still edible but no demand from the consumers. Benefit of a solution Retailers can track information about expiry date thereby avoiding ordering packages that are bad. Element Description The problem of Wastage of edible food by the consumers Affects People in poor areas And result in Food insecurity Benefit of a solution Enough food will be saved from wastage which can be donated to poor areas. Element Description The problem of Throwing edible, wasted food in garbage. Affects Environmentalist And result in Environment pollution such as emission of ethane gas Benefit of a solution Reduction of environment pollution from ethane gas. Element Description The problem of Disposal of edible food wastage in the garbage. Affects The government. And result in Increased cost of waste disposal and management. Benefit of a solution Reduced waste disposed due to food wastage will cut the expenditure of the government in the waste disposal and management system. Element Description The problem of Consumers disposing food that are still edible. Affects Producers of food. And result in Waste of resources used in producing food. Benefit of a solution The resources will be effectively utilized to produce food that are consumed efficiently.
The objective of the business is to create a smart food label which will provide consumers with a wide range of information about the food package they are about to buy. This will help eradicate the issue of food wastage because of wrong expiry date labels. The labels will also be created in such a way that it can give out dates that shows when the product is no longer fresh and for how long it can still be used before being discarded.
Chen, S., Brahma, S., Mackay, J., Cao, C., & Aliakbarian, B. (2020). The role of smart packaging system in food supply chain. Journal of Food Science, 85(3), 517-525.
Eriksson, M. (2012). Retail food wastage (Vol. 45, No. 045).
Sangeetha, G., & Vijayalakshmi, M. (2020). Role of Smart Sensors in Minimizing Food Deficit by Prediction of Shelf-Life in Agricultural Supply Chain. In Principles of Internet of Things (IoT) Ecosystem: Insight Paradigm (pp. 153-175). Springer, Cham.