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How to Reduce Waste in Food Production

Posted by OAFVC on Aug 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Food waste is doubly dangerous: it hurts your small business’s bottom line and the environment. A major consideration when expanding your food production business is how to stay green and continue to be environmentally conscious, even though you are producing more.

According to a report from the Food Waste Alliance, it’s estimated that 30 percent of all food grown worldwide may be lost or wasted - JustFood

Instead, food waste can be:

  • Recycled
  • Donated
  • Reused

Current calculations estimate that global food production must increase 60% by 2050 to continue to feed the growing population. It’s time to get creative about our food products. Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) is all about finding innovative ways to reduce food waste, while increasing food production.

5 Ways to Reduce Waste in Food Production

1. Better Packaging

Even if you can’t reduce the amount of packaging without compromising food safety, you can still reduce waste with improved food packaging standards. Be sure to clearly state the “best before” or expiry dates. Offer concise, easy to follow instructions to cook, freeze, or thaw the product where applicable. The more the consumer understands and uses the product properly, the less chance they will throw it out.

Be sure to also research the cost of various types of packaging. Consider reusable/resealable packaging to preserve unused portions of product for safe consumption later. Consider adjusting the portion sizes or number of portions per package to reflect actual usage.

2. Plan Ahead

The more accurately you can plan for your consumption, the less chance there is that you will over-estimate your need for fresh produce that will go to waste if not used promptly. And what you don’t use can still be sold at a farmers’ market. You can also research forecasting models for your product to help improve the accuracy of your projections and maximize the use of ingredients on hand. Consider Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. OAFVC can also help you implement less wasteful strategies with business consulting for start-ups and expansions.

3. Appropriate Storage

For those times when you do need storage space for unused ingredients or finished products, be sure to use the optimal storage type and temperature for each item to minimize wastage. And be sure to use a blast chiller or flash freezer to prevent bacterial growth.

null4. Educate Consumers

Running a small food business means that you’re the face of your company. You have the opportunity to communicate directly with your customers. And your customers probably love that they know where your product comes from. Take some time to explain your product to them and help them stop food waste. Maximize educational opportunities:

  • Chat with people at the farmers’ market (customers and other vendors)
  • Take time to explain your product when delivering orders
  • Optimize packaging to provide tips about portion control and food preservation

5. Let OAFVC Help

OAFVC can help with all of the above. Be sure to also take advantage of our business consultation services, food packaging and labelling services, and dry, cold, or freezer storage space. We can also help expand your network by connecting you with our expert staff and clients in the food production industry.

Reducing Waste Saves You Money To Expand Your Food Production Business

  • What would you do with all the money you save from reducing food waste?
  • What are your food production business goals?
  • How do you want to grow?

With the money you save reducing waste you’ll be able to answer these questions for your food production business. Download this e-book to answer more questions about how to grow your agri-food business.

Farmers Market Business Plan Checklist


Topics: Food Production