An annual estimated 30% of food is wastage globally, which is about 1.3 billion tonnes costing US$ 100 Billion yearly. With a projected population increase to 9.7 billion in 2050 from the current 7.7 Billion, the world food supply is certainly straining.
Global food borne disease is also estimated to result in 1.2 million deaths yearly with a report in 1996 putting the losses in the US alone ( medical costs and value of lives lost) to range between the US $6.5 billion to $34.9 billion; and in England and Wales, UK £300-700 million annually. All these factors are accelerating the need for a better, more economical and efficient food supply chain.
The Food Supply Chain can be broadly classified into 5 stages as shown:
The Inadequacies of the Food Chain
The food chain’s inadequacies can be broadly classified into these categories:-
• Predictability – be it weather to consumer preferences, unpredictability causes uncertainty in supply
• Food Loss and Wastage – Uncontrolled losses from farm to consumer
• Manpower – the lack of trained labour from farmhands, to retail cashiers
• Critical information loss thereby limiting the ability to track, trace, solve and prevent food incidents
• Increasing demand by both consumers and authorities for transparency and traceability
• The ability to increase yields without any corresponding increase in resources like land in farms, food produced per kg of raw materials, etc. to meet the growing demand
• Cost pressure – the demand by end-users to lower or maintain cost ranging to raw material to finished goods