Food sustainability is a priority and the facts bear this out. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global food system accounts for about 26% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the main drivers of climate change.
In the meantime, the world’s population continues to grow. In order to meet the nutritional needs of a population that will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, food production will have to increase by 60%. Companies that can develop a sustainable business model able to produce enough food to meet this demand with the least possible environmental impact will gain a competitive edge.
There are 4 ways that technology can help transform processes and ensure food sustainability:
Reducing food waste and increase sustainability
The world wastes a third of the food it produces. According to FAO, almost 1.4 billion hectares of farmland that produce food is often not used.
In order to cut losses and reduce food waste, it is important to know where and why it is generated, and data is a central element in this process. Waste often occurs in the supply chain. It is essential to have technology that offers visibility along the supply chain and tracks the process from seed to table. In addition, producers of food and beverage collect a large amount of information that is managed by different technologies and platforms; in order to reduce waste, it is important to access data, perform quality tests and the properties associated with the products by automating processes in order to reduce costs and the time required to manage the different activities.
For retail outlets most of the waste is due to limited shelf life or the unattractive appearance of the product (consistency, colour, freshness).
In particular, people misinterpret the product expiration dates on labels. Consumers often choose food products with a long sell-by date and this increases the quantity of unsold food and an increase in waste. Another factor that produces waste is visual appeal: if a product doesn’t look good, the consumer assumes it isn’t good and won’t buy it, although this isn’t always the case.
Introducing a dynamic label that shows a shelf life based on the actual quality of the product is probabily the best initiative for producers, retailers and consumers. Retail outlets that have implemented dynamic labels have cut waste by a third, with a resulting reduction in costs linked to rejects. Profits have increased for the retailer and there is greater satisfaction and savings for customers.
Based on the above facts, a vertical ERP for the food industry needs to provide end-to-end visibility in the supply chain, making it easier to identify inefficiencies and reduce the waste produced by the company. The best technology on the market is certainly Infor Cloudsuite for Food & Beverage. This solution enables information to be gathered from the industry chain and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve the decision-making process. Overall, it’s more effective and efficient. The Infor vertical solution allows companies to acquire the quality attributes of the products and of the agricultural business during processing so they can optimize the response of supply to demand thus reducing waste.
Improving energy efficiency to ensure sustainability
When we address the question of food sustainability, we cannot avoid talking about energy consumption, which is one of the factors that has the greatest impact on the environment. According to a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), about a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from food systems. This means that reducing energy consumption is the most compelling issue for companies that really want to improve their corporate sustainability.
In order to meet this challenge, companies need to implement technological solutions that help monitor their consumption and avoid unnecessary energy waste. HxGN EAM in fact enables energy consumption to be monitored constantly at the asset level. By combining data on energy consumption with the performance parameters of the various assets, HxGN EAM for Food and Beverage offers a complete picture of the performance of each of these assets and their impact on the business. In addition, HxGN EAM can help trace and control the use of resources like water, electricity, gas and heat to meet food sustainability objectives because their functions enable compliance with current standards to be checked.
Sustainable communication management with customers
Consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of their personal choices and accordingly base their purchasing decisions on the sustainability of the products and companies.
Most consumers in fact say that they increasingly pay more attention to the environment (74%) and the social impact of what they buy (66%), bearing in mind climate change (65%), and recycling products or packaging after initial use (85%)*.
A CRM solution focused on sustainability aims to attract and win the loyalty of consumers who take sustainability seriously. This allows consumers to know the companies better and their green choices. The rapport is invariably stronger between the two and advocacy processes and sustainable interactions are developed.
But in order to build up a solid and long lasting relationship with customers and consumers, companies need to map out all of the communication channels, from the initial contact with the consumer to their purchase, until long-term customer loyalty is won. In order to do so, the right tools are needed that help increase the efficiency of the marketing activities and therefore improve customer satisfaction, thus creating a virtuous circle. Salesforce Marketing Cloud enables the customer journey to be tracked and an exceptional experience to be offered at each touchpoint.
Another important aspect is reducing the use of paper, most importantly, in the flow of communication with customers and distributors. This not only lessens the company’s use of paper and thus improves brand awareness, but also represents a significant cost saving that reduces the final consumer price and the company’s bottom line. Even in the dematerialization process, it is essential to put one’s trust in technological solutions that help manage correspondence with customers and distributors online, avoiding offline steps that would slow down the communication flow – which would also make the environmental plan less sustainable.
Relying on a team of experts for Change Management
After the right technology has been implemented, to support food sustainability, how can its full potential be exploited? The simplest and most effective approach is to involve a team of Change Management experts from the outset who provide education and training and help support the company and employees in adopting a new technological solution. Implementation doesn’t merely guarantee a complete return on the investment, instead, paralleling an evaluation of company dynamics can help avoid resistance among employees that often impedes the efficacy of new technology solutions and processes.
For a company, it is thus important to invest not only in technology but also provide employees with the support and expertise needed to take full advantage of the new solutions. That’s why Atlantic provides not only the solution but also a team of Change Management experts who support management in promoting the cultural change required to obtain the best result from the digital transformation process.
Find out how our consultants can help you find the solution that best suits your needs and support you on your path towards sustainability!