Food sustainability: what it is and why it matters

Across the globe,  811 million people suffer from lack of food. A staggering number by the World Food Programme that leaves no room for doubt: hunger and malnutrition are a widespread problem. Achieving food sustainability will require changes far and wide for companies of all sizes. But what does this concept mean exactly? And what should the priorities be for organizations?

What is food sustainability and why is it important?

The term food sustainability refers to the ability to produce food with a level of efficiency sufficient to feed the human population, with a neutral impact on the environment. It can be applied at a global or national level, or even to each company.

According to The Economist, Sweden is the most food-sustainable country for its excellent use of water and food, up-to-date farming practices, and high nutritional indexes. At the corporate levelproduction processes, equipment, technologies and training determine food sustainability.

In 2017, Kraft Heinz became one of the first food organizations to set concrete goals in this field. Among the primary measures, they committed to 100% cage-free eggs by 2025, and limits to calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. That same year, Hershey pioneered QR codes in packages of various brands in their portfolio, so that consumers could access detailed nutritional information.

These are just two examples of a universal movement towards food sustainability. And it’s not just the behemoths in the industry taking action. More and more companies of all sizes are responding to consumer demands for more transparency, control, and supervision by the firms they trust.

This is what you can do in your company to contribute to food sustainability.

How to contribute to food sustainability?

From your choice of suppliers to packaging solutions, promoting food sustainability is in the hands of every company. These are just 5 practical measures that you can start implementing today in your organization.

1. Reduce food waste

A third of all food production is lost along the supply chain. These losses can occur at any stage of the process, from harvesting to consumption. At a company level, it is important to measure food waste in order to identify its root causes. Reducing food waste is a continuous process that involves creating new work standards, updating equipment and training teams. This is what companies can do to avoid excess production and losses throughout the production process.

2. Prefer local and organic sourcing

Sourcing processes are decisive for food sustainability. Choosing local suppliers, organic ingredients and partners with sustainable farming practices are some of the most impactive initiatives. This way, companies support local development, reduce transport-related emissions, ensure fresher ingredients with less use of energy and get greater control over their suppliers’ practices.

3. Review packaging

Packaging is yet another major component of food sustainability. About 79% of all plastic ever produced lives on to this day in oceans, rivers, lakes and landfills, and only 9% has been recycled. Sustainable companies go for recyclable, compostable, lighter and increasingly reusable packagingAlternatives to plastic include glass, bamboo or even mushrooms, and already won over large corporations such as IKEA.

4. Save water and energy

There are many best practices to follow in industrial processes that contribute to saving water and energy. In any case, the first step is to measure the current state. Establish reliable consumption data for these resources, and regularly track these KPIs.

Washing utensils and tools is one process that uses up plenty of water and energy. By choosing an industrial washing machine for boxes, utensils and containers, companies can achieve direct savings, as compared to household appliances.

At Somengil, we design machines that reduce ecological footprint, increase efficiency and ensure the well-being of the machine operator. Our machines use only 7 litres of water per cycle, around 70% less than traditional wash.

To save water and energy, it is also important to train your team and instruct them to report leaks, keep the space around the machines clean and dry, and solve simple issues quickly. Finally, it is important to perform maintenance regularly and according to vendors’ instructions.

5. Prevent food born diseases

Preventing the spread of food born diseases directly contributes to food sustainability as it reduces waste. Restaurants, hotels, hospitals, pharmaceuticals, retailers, food catering and processing companies play an essential role. The absence of hygiene routines of productive areas, the lack of food sanitation and the use of inadequate equipment and tools are just some of the major priorities.

Somengil, making food sustainability a top priority

At Somengil, we develop industrial washing machines, so that companies concerned with food sustainability can wash any utensil, tool, or equipment.

The Multiwasher, a state-of-the-art machine, reaches high temperatures, which allows companies to wash any utensil with minimum amounts of detergent, water and energy. This is our contribution to food sustainability.

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