We do not eat all the food we produce – even what has not expired yet

Food waste is a global problem and the production of meat is a great sinner regarding the environment. Our production of meat and fish accounts for 22% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. The production of meat and fish emits as much CO2 as the entire transport sector, which merely ads to the paradox as to why 1/3 of the products end up as waste.

Food waste – a loose loose situation

The production of meat and fish emits, on average, 7 times as much CO2 as plant products. This means that 500g of meat or fish emits approximately 7000g, on average, of greenhouse gasses. Climate changes is not a local problem. In the EU alone 10 million tons of meat and fish, with a value of €41 billion end up as food waste each year. Thus emitting 190 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we eat this meat and do not waste it. UN’s climate report from august 2019 states that it is especially our production of beef, that we must reduce, if we wish to prevent a climate disaster. (Global Warming of 1.5℃, IPCC, 2019)

Problems concerning expiration

A great deal of food waste is caused by imprecise shelf life determination. This is because the industry does not have a method for detecting freshness and determining expiration. Often the food production companies use preset curves for expiration under standard conditions in order to estimate the expiration date. These have an error margin of minimum 4 days – sometimes more. Alternatives include using the senses or some rule of thumb. There is no legislation in this area, and it is the producer’s own responsibility to determine correct expiration dates. This leads to being overcautious which in return results in large quantities of eatable meat and fish end up as food waste.

Today you cannot measure freshness and expiration. This is solved by AmiNIC’s handheld sensor. Especially for the small and medium sized companies existing between production and consumer, where half of the waste occurs. Implementing our device and principles in the value chain could reduce the total waste by as much as 27% and reduce the climate footprint of Denmark by more than 260.000 tons of CO2.

Action is needed

Correct and precise expiration dates will contribute to achieving UN’s sustainable development goals. This is done by applying new technology for a more sustainable food production, but without negative impact on the economic growth. By preventing the produced food to be wasted, we can contribute to achieving the ambitious goal of eliminating overfishing and deforestation.