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How to optimize food supply chain efficiency

Lindsey Mazza
Jun 12, 2024

In the latest installment of our food ecosystem insights series, we explore how the food industry can optimize supply chain efficiency amid disruption.

The global food industry is facing unprecedented levels of disruption, driven by geopolitical conflicts, shifting international trade policies, and extreme weather events increasingly linked to climate change. The industry’s challenges not only threaten the stability of food supplies but also highlight inefficiencies within the supply chain. One of the most glaring is food waste.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, one-third of all food produced is lost or wasted – approximately 1.3 billion metric tons annually. This cost the global economy nearly $940 billion each year, and with an estimated 735 million people worldwide undernourished, there’s an urgent case for change.

An opportunity for food players to change the game

Proactively addressing these inefficiencies presents a significant opportunity for the food industry. Food companies are increasingly embracing the idea that a more robust supply chain is not only more sustainable, but also more profitable. When food waste represents lost revenue, improving sustainability and cutting waste becomes as much a financial imperative as an ethical one. By optimizing supply ecosystems and making them intelligent, brands and retailers can reduce costs, mitigate the impact of disruptions, and deliver the right products in the right quantity to reach the end consumer before they spoil.

Using tech and data to drive change

When talking with clients and partners, one non-negotiable element consistently emerges: visibility. The food industry generates a vast amount of data, but it can easily become overwhelming without effective tools to make sense of it all. Technology can play a vital role here, analyzing data and generating actionable insights. This, in turn, leads to better decision-making and greater efficiency throughout the supply chain.

For agriculture organizations, advanced analytics can help optimize yields by determining the best planting times and crop choices based on weather patterns and soil conditions. Consumer goods brands can identify bottlenecks and pain points in their supply chains, enabling them to implement changes to reduce waste. Retailers, too, benefit from automatic product warnings when products on the shelf are approaching use-by dates – giving them the visibility to take action in advance of potential wastage.

Achieving this level of visibility requires collaboration. An approach whereby producers, consumer packaged goods companies and retailers share data and insights can lead to significant improvements in efficiency and sustainability across the entire value chain, creating value and supply ecosystems.    

Advanced technologies and industry collaboration are the key to transformation

The food industry has the potential to transform supply chain operations through the strategic use of digital tools and collaborative practices. By doing so, food players can not only mitigate the impact of various disruptions but also turn these challenges into opportunities for growth.

This shift transcends traditional business competition, emphasizing a collective effort to create a more sustainable and resilient food system.

Capgemini’s latest ReThink whitepaper looks further into the role of technology and industry collaboration in creating a 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

Find out more about Capgemini’s food waste solutions and how we can help businesses thrive in this evolving landscape.

Food waste reduction solutions for retail

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Lindsey Mazza

Global Retail Lead, Capgemini
Lindsey is Capgemini’s Global Retail Lead. She is a retail thought leader and subject matter expert who specializes in shopper-centric, unified-channel commerce and innovation. With nearly 20 years’ experience in retail transformation, Lindsey has served some of the world’s largest retailers in analytics-enabled integrated planning and execution, from consumer demand to receipt.