Industry Lessons on Food Waste: Sell Ugly Carrots (and Four More Tactics)

Industry Lessons on Food Waste: Sell Ugly Carrots (and Four More Tactics)

Take a lesson from a baby carrot – and capitalize on food waste reduction by adopting these strategies. 
Tara Hadler January 20, 2014
Food waste is under scrutiny – even Pope Francis denounced it. Researchers estimate that 40% of food goes to waste in the US and also Canada. In Canada, this equates to $27 billion.

Businesses desperate for solutions can take solace in the fact the research is setting the foundation for future solutions. Martin Gooch, David Sparling and Nicoleta Uzea responded to the challenge of mapping food waste in Canada put forth by Provision Coalition and NBS. They integrated insights from representatives across the value chain into a final report. Through this research, they discovered business can capitalize on food waste reduction by adopting the following strategies:

5 Industry Tips to Reduce Food Waste

  1. Sell ugly carrots. To avoid tossing optically deficient carrots, businesses got creative. Ugly carrots underwent cosmetic surgery. The result? Baby carrots. Businesses turned would-be waste into a profit-generating product. Apply the same strategy in your business.
  2. Use benchmarking tools. Businesses clamour for benchmarking. Yet, many tools are already available. Provision Coalition’s portal for food and beverage manufacturers is a Canadian example offering a data-driven approach to solutions. Who wants to be the first to sign up?
  3. Optimize packaging. Packaging is often cast as the enemy. Using the right materials can extend shelf life for nearly two weeks. Choose wisely and educate your consumers to do the same.
  4. Step out of your silo. Attend a meeting or conference to meet stakeholders from different points in the value chain.  Such events facilitate knowledge transfer and go a long way in fast-tracking solutions.
  5. Find an anaerobic digester near you. If it can’t be reduced or redistributed, anaerobic digesters generate nutrients and energy from food waste. In the UK, you’re likely to find one only a few kilometers away.  

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