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App to reduce waste

Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are thrown away worldwide. More than 40% of it is disposed of by retailers and consumers. The German initiative FoodLoop aims to tackle excessive food waste; the platform links companies to each other and to consumers. Christoph Müller-Dechent talks about the initiative.

“FoodLoop is the first platform for retailers providing a B2B2C solution for products whose expiry date is approaching,” says Christoph Müller-Dechent. “With FoodLoop, retailers have the chance to inform about their expiration date offers to a wider audience.” The goal of Food Loop is clear: to create a win-win-win situation for the retailer, the consumer and the environment.

Food waste
Food waste is a huge problem. Because of freshness policies, supermarkets dispose of many products in good condition 11 days before their expiration date. Waste is broadly interpreted in this context: “Time, water and other resources are disposed of with all food that is not consumed.” Besides the wasted investment to produce the product, it also entails unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, and discarded products cost retailers lots of money. “There is no greater opportunity for the industry to simultaneously tackle hunger and reduce the ecological footprint than by reducing waste.”

FoodLoop is an app that, with the help of the GS1 DataBar, offers products that will soon expire to consumers. About 6% of the sales of perishable products are lost because such offers are not well communicated to the consumer. FoodLoop provides communication between retailers and consumers through their smartphones.

GS1 DataBar
A global standard for product labelling can contribute to the reduction of waste, according to Christoph. “Improved product information makes it easier for consumers and retailers to select the right products, which reduces costs, offers consumers the right information and provides the basis for traceability. This all contributes to improved food safety and efficiency.”

Over the past decade, retailers have already made considerable investments in reducing waste through automation and software applications. “These systems gradually reduce the gap between expected and actual sales.” The GS1 DataBar can contribute to this. The barcode gives supermarkets an insight into their current stock.

All supermarkets in Food Loop

“Our next step is to perfect the FoodLoop app and we are preparing a pilot project with Bergfelds Organic supermarkets in Bonn, Germany.” When that is done, the results and the app will be adjusted if necessary. Additionally, FoodLoop is working on the financing of the project and striking partnerships with major supermarket chains.

“Our goal is to get every supermarket worldwide to use FoodLoop by 2025. To achieve that goal, we need to get representatives of all segments of the industry involved in the project.”

Sign up here to listen to Christoph Müller-Dechent and other speakers during the EU Fresh Info (3 and 4 December in Rotterdam):

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