Five Innovative Ways that Companies are Curbing Food Waste

1) Dynamic Pricing:
Brought into the field by Israeli startup, Wasteless, dynamic pricing is a way that grocery stores can reduce food waste and increase revenue. Using an algorithm that compares the relative quality of the food along with how desired that food typically is under those conditions, the price of that individual item will then change accordingly. Dynamic pricing, uUsually utilized in the costing of higher ticket items like hotel rooms or rental cars,, dynamic pricing, operatesing on the core principles of supply and demand, hopes to bring sustainable principles to the grocery shopping experience. Using an algorithm that compares the relative quality of the food along with how desired that food typically is under those conditions, the price of that individual item will then change accordingly.

Wasteless aims to decrease food waste by providing thisan alternative to the basic model of a set price for an item. The pricing algorithm can afford a store the option of carefully planning the order in which items are sold. Estimating that $18 billion is lost annually due to food waste, they have instituted dynamic pricing in Italian grocery stores seeing a 39% decrease in the waste produced. By using competitive pricing, the hope is to reduce food waste and further streamline operations with behaviorally-minded economic strategies, using the invisible hand of the market to change the grocery store for the greener.

2) Transparency Software
One major roadblock that was previously prohibiting many companies, especially grocery stores and supermarkets, from cutting down on food waste is now passable with new technologies that help manage product inventory in new and inventive ways. Date Check Pro is a software that allows grocery retailers to manage their inventory, see dates of expiration, and adjust shipping quantities from one interface. Similar to blockchain initiatives that seek to achieve peak transparency for customers, Date Check Pro cuts down on waste by streamlining the share of product information. While only one part of a system that seeks to cut down on food waste, Date Check Pro, and others like them, are an integral part of the process to reduce unnecessary food disposal leading towards a circular style economy. 

3) Low Emission Food
Increasingly, many restaurants like Panera Bread and Just Salad are designating portions of their menu towards foods that have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. These include but are not limited to falafel, seaweed, berries, beans, and potatoes. Some websites have cropped up, such as Eat Low Carbon, to help individual consumers measure their dietary carbon footprint. Instituting a low emission menu at any restaurant is a surefire, practical way to diminish that company’s carbon footprint. 

4) Re-selling Rejected (Ugly) Food
Companies like Misfits Market have capitalized on a flaw that originated in the miasma of our image obsessed culture: rejecting food because of aesthetic reasoning. This senseless practice proved fertile ground for business and expansion, as there are many who buy unsightly food at a discounted rate generating profit from what was previously trash. Misfits Market presents a fantastic opportunity to restaurants and those who rely on food distributors but are involved in the preparation of those raw materials. By expanding the field of what foods are accepted as usable, there is less food waste which, in excess, is very harmful for the environment.

5) Participating in Periods of Zero Waste
Zero Waste Month and Zero Waste Week are up and coming observances that include participants from all over the world striving to make the world free of needless plastic and trash. As the climate crisis worsens, events on this theme do not seem to be going anywhere. It is a good idea, especially for low impact businesses, to do their part by participating in a Zero Waste Week. Through that period, a company can get a better idea of the current state of their operations and where they could find space to improve. Even though the idea makes creative strategizing essential, these sorts of stress tests are going to prove valuable in the event of a resource shortage. Consciousness raising is a beneficial sustainable business strategy for marketing as well as a check on efficient practices. In times such as these, creative solutions are essential.


Jacob Rosen