Advances in agriculture and food production have allowed for the abundance of food particularly in developed countries. Unfortunately, complications with production, handling, and inspections within supply chains still contribute to a global food waste problem.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, around 30 percent of food is lost and wasted, portions of which are caused by supply chain issues. Waste generally translates to business losses for stakeholders. This problem economically costs $1 trillion each year; there are environmental and social costs as well. In addition, considering that populations especially those in developing countries still suffer food supply shortages and famine, it also becomes a moral imperative to cut down on food waste.
Condition monitoring startup Logmore looks to help companies monitor their goods and reduce food spoilage by alerting them if there is a dramatic change in conditions such as changes in temperature, humidity, and location. The company provides shippers with QR data loggers equipped with accurate sensors to measure these conditions to determine the safety and quality of produce being transported.
The Finland-based startup also recently raised €4.5 million from a Series A round led by NordicNinja VC. Logmore is earmarking the additional capital for its expansion in North America, Asia, and Europe.
Cutting down on food waste
Foodborne illnesses affect millions of people around the globe. In the United States alone, 48 million people get sick from food-borne illnesses each year. To help address the issue, governments have put forward laws and regulations, such as the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which dictate that food produced for human consumption must meet strict health and safety standards.
Included in such laws are provisions for the sanitary and safe transportation of produce. Certain conditions must be kept when transporting and handling certain types of produce otherwise bacterial/fungi growth and food spoilage are likely to occur. Contaminated and spoiled food must then be discarded, as they can be a potential source of illnesses and outbreaks. Americans throw away an equivalent of $165 billion in spoiled food each year.
There are ways for certain types of products that can be salvaged from becoming completely discarded. For instance, tomatoes can be processed into other products such as tomato sauce, ketchup, or paste. However, not all types of products can be processed and have to be disposed of. Businesses such as high-end restaurants and gourmet food manufacturers also demand foods to be kept at their most optimal condition. Items that do not meet standards are oftentimes discarded.
Solving supply chain inefficiencies
Solving supply chain inefficiencies can help mitigate food waste. Key to this is shipment condition monitoring by which shippers can track the actual condition of each food shipment that gets transported. Aside from fresh produce such as fish, meats, and vegetables which must be kept in optimal temperatures and humidity, certain food items have to be carefully handled. Fragile packaging, such as bottles, has to be kept safe from shocks. Certain items, such as wine, adversely react to light.
Conventionally, a food distributor only gets to know about a delivery's condition once the receiver inspects the contents and provides feedback. Logmore looks to provide such capability and more through its subscription-based data-logging services. Logmore's QR data trackers are equipped with sensors that detect temperature, humidity, shocks, light, tilt, and location. Each Logmore tracker can log over 20,000 measurements.
This range of information that the trackers' log is particularly helpful in food supply chains. Readings can be retrieved through a dynamic QR code which can be scanned using any mobile device camera at various points of the supply chain. The information then gets passed onto the cloud, making it accessible to shippers. This way, they can be notified in real-time about the condition of all their products in transit.
Shippers can then perform timely interventions should any of their packages be subjected to unfavorable conditions that can lead to spoilage and waste. They can thus divert packages for processing before they reach delivery points where there is no choice but to discard food products.
Using QR data logging to cut down on food waste
Since its launch in March 2019, Logmore has already been in use by over 150 teams across industries that demand shipment monitoring. Its QR loggers have been used to monitor food, electronics, and pharmaceutical products. The company is confident that the information that its service can provide food industry stakeholders can significantly improve the industry's supply chains.
Maximizing food product yield and utility is a must these days especially as the world adjusts to the new realities of the pandemic. Certain territories are experiencing food shortages partly due to the effect of lockdowns on the global supply chain. Ensuring that no food produced goes to waste due to improper handling is critical during the new normal.