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Hugo (Antônio Jordão) Bethlem, PMA Fresh Connections Brazil

Strategies to reduce waste

"We are what we do, but we are especially what we do to change," said Hugo (Antônio Jordão) Bethlem in his dissertation at PMA Fresh Connections Brazil.

Modern consumers, with their greater access to information, are increasingly prepared to make good buying decisions. They are no longer only concerned about the quality and price of products, but also about them being produced sustainably. 

Paradoxically, there are so many options in the stores that is almost impossible to make a decision and buy what you really wanted. 

Nowadays, there is also too much waste; according to the British Association of Industrial Engineers (IME) in 2013 half of all food produced worldwide was wasted. 

"The change has to come from those who produce, distribute or sell fruits and vegetables, because it is our responsibility," said Hugo.

However, according to Stefan Adriaan Coppelmans, CEO of LA VITA AGRO ALIMENTOS ABGROINDUSTRIA LTD, it is utopian to imagine that we will ever be able to completely end with waste.

"Waste is like nails; you always have to cut them, because otherwise, they will grow," added Copperlmans. 

Waste is divided into tangible and intangible forms. 

In the case of tangible waste, it is essential to choose the best packaging format, to reduce errors in logistics, as these can have a significant negative impact, and reduce the consumption of water and energy. 

For its part, intangible waste is that generated by dehydration of vegetables during storage prior to processing, poor time management, re-work and high staff turnover, which is when talents leave a company after these have invested time and money on them. 

Very long work shifts
In this sector it is very common for shifts to be very long, but we know that teams that work a lot of overtime become tired and lose effectiveness and dedication, which results in more waste and lower productivity. 

We need to identify waste; asking our employees and conducting audits are useful ways to do this. Finding out what the biggest sources of waste are should be a priority in order to develop strategies to reduce it. 

"Designing a solution is relatively easy. The hard part is to implement and maintain it over time," concluded Coppelmans.

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