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Data and analytics hold the keys to creating a more sustainable food ecosystem

Aurobindo Saha, Jordan E Friedman
Jun 21, 2024

To conclude our series of insights on the food ecosystem, we share our convictions on one of its crucial missing ingredients: Technology.

With climate change impacting production, a large amount of food being wasted, and growing consumer demand for sustainable products, the food sector has an unprecedented opportunity to evolve. To drive lasting change, the entire industry needs to embrace technological advances. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and real-time data sharing will benefit individual organizations as well as the industry as a whole.

Food waste occurs throughout the supply chain

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the Capgemini Research Institute report that 48% (1.2 billion tons) of food loss happens during agricultural production and the post-harvest handling process. 15%[GE1]  (370 million tons) of food is lost in the processing, storage, and distribution stages, while 37% (931 million tons) is wasted at the retail and consumption stage. These staggering figures reveal that saving 50% of the food currently lost or wasted could end world hunger.

Data-driven solutions for a more sustainable supply chain

Data and technology play a pivotal role in reducing food loss and waste. For retailers, data-driven inventory management systems can optimize stock levels, ensuring product availability while minimizing waste due to overstocking or spoilage. Real-time stock updates on products nearing their sell-by date facilitate prompt responses such as dynamic pricing or redistribution, significantly reducing waste.

For instance, Capgemini worked with a consumer goods company to design a custom web application to identify where food waste could be avoided or reduced – and prescribe appropriate actions to achieve this. This digital solution enabled a reduction in food waste of up to 50%.

Tech can also help reduce the environmental impact of food production. By rapidly processing vast data sets, AI-powered analytics can pinpoint supply chain inefficiencies and bottlenecks, which in turn permit faster, more targeted interventions.

How technology enables transparency

Furthermore, consumers are increasingly keen to make more sustainable food choices and are demanding transparency from retailers to help them do so. Technology can empower businesses to meet these expectations. For example, data-driven impact assessments can bolster a retailer’s credibility by demonstrating their efforts in sustainable sourcing – fostering trust and consumer loyalty.

Digital platforms can also bridge the gap between producers, retailers, and consumers. Equipped with data-driven insights about buying patterns and preferences, companies can tailor their offerings to specific customer needs. Additionally, these platforms can guide consumers toward more informed decisions about food products and promote more sustainable consumption choices.

The food industry is at a critical turning point

There’s an urgent need for new solutions in the food industry to meet both the environmental and commercial challenges of tomorrow. At Capgemini, we believe that technology is the cornerstone of a more sustainable food ecosystem. The food industry is at the beginning of this journey, as rapid advancements offer immense potential for positive change. That’s why we are actively partnering with players in the food ecosystem to leverage technology and reduce waste.

Capgemini’s comprehensive four-part food waste offer for retailers focuses on:

  • Product innovation and sustainable packaging: Identifying ways to reduce the impact of production and packaging
  • Connected supply chain and inventory management: Harnessing AI and data analytics for efficient inventory management and seamless supply chain operations
  • Rescue and reuse food: Implementing strategies to redistribute surplus food and reduce waste
  • Influencing consumer behavior: using data to empower businesses to help consumers make more sustainable choices and become more conscious about this important topic.

We are committed to driving innovation and working together with our clients to build a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future.

We aim to shed some light on how we can shape a more sustainable food ecosystem for the future in our latest ReThink white paper, Food for Thought: How can collaboration and technology drive a more sustainable food ecosystem? We would like to thank all contributors & our partner, Microsoft, for facilitating and jointly developing this whitepaper.

Food for thought

How can collaboration and technology drive more sustainable food ecosystem

Food waste reduction solutions for retail

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Expert Perspectives


Aurobindo Saha

Global AI & Data Engineering Cloud Architecture Leader, Insights & Data
Aurobindo has 23 years of IT experience and is a Level 3 certified Chief Architect. As a global leader, Aurobindo contributes to over 15 solutions. In past he has led global innovation and technology asset building for the past 5 years, managing teams of over 2000 people and developed new tech strategies, advised on numerous high-profile client engagements and handled critical project challenges.

Jordan E Friedman

Consumer Product & Retail Sustainability Go-To-Market Strategy Lead, North America