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According to the new report, consumers are already looking into ways to reduce their food waste. There has been an 80% year-on-year growth in social media searches for methods to increase the life of food items. Cost savings (56%), concerns around world hunger (52%) and climate change (51%) are the primary reasons contributing to this.
Although consumers admit their own culpability, with 60% feeling guilty about wasting food, they also perceive that retailers and food manufacturers aren’t doing enough to help them curb this issue. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of consumers want brands and retailers to do more to help them tackle food waste and 57% are disappointed as they feel that businesses don’t care enough about the issue.
As per the report, organizations are taking positive action to tackle food waste in-store, in consumers’ homes, as well as providing tips to ensure leftovers are not wasted. But, consumers report that they don’t believe these actions go far enough. For instance, 60% of organizations say that they help consumers understand terms like “best before”, “consume by” and “expiry date”, but only 39% of consumers are satisfied that this information is clear enough. Consumers want organizations to do more in areas such as product innovation, packaging, clarity of date labels, and consumer education. For instance, consumers would like to see digital labels (QR codes, etc.) that will provide them with more information on the product’s journey and quality.
In fact, consumers feel they are too often left to their own devices regarding reducing food waste. When it comes to increasing food longevity at home, two-thirds (67%) are going to third-party sources for information (friends, family, influencers, and social media) with only a third (33%) getting information from packaging, commercials or campaigns run by food manufacturers and retailers.
Food businesses can better educate and support the consumer
As consumer awareness around the issue of food waste grows, food retailers and manufacturers must take action to win consumer confidence, cites the report. 91% of consumers say that they are willing to buy from brands and retailers that disclose information on their food waste, while 58% will increase their spend with companies taking active steps to manage food waste.
“The increased awareness amongst consumers and the initiatives being taken by businesses to tackle food waste is a positive step forward”, said Tim Bridges, Global Sector Lead, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution at Capgemini. “With the help of technology, organizations can track and assess food waste at every stage of the food value chain to enable action at the right time, while also engaging with their consumers by inculcating waste avoiding behaviors and making them an active participant in waste reduction. An agile, intelligent supply chain can also enable an effective collaboration across the value chain to create a sustainable and future-ready ecosystem.”
A fragmented food chain
Although reducing food waste at the retail and consumption phase is an important facet, much more food is lost during production and distribution (1.5bn tons vs 931m tons). More than three in four (77%) organizations say they have committed to the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals 12.3 (UN SDG 12.3), a framework which focuses on halving per-capita food waste at retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses, by 2030. However, only 15% of organizations say they have achieved or are on track to achieve their targets.
According to the report, this is due to a fragmented approach to addressing food waste and loss across the food chain. Although food retailers and manufacturers focus on reducing food waste in upstream logistics (44% of retailers and 50% of manufacturers) and processing and packaging (43% retailers, 46% manufacturers), few players pay the same attention to agricultural production (22% retailers and 23% manufacturers) or downstream storage (18% retailers and 21% manufacturers). With produce often crossing international borders, getting a handle on where, when, and how much food loss and waste is occurring is proving a challenge for manufacturers and retailers.
Technology can help accelerate the fight against food waste
The report recommends a three-pronged approach to tackle food waste, backed by technology:
To read the full report, click here.
The Capgemini Research Institute surveyed 10,000 consumers over the age of 18, as well as executives from 1,000 large organizations in food manufacturing and food retail. The global survey was conducted in 11 countries across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in April and May 2022.
Twenty-three in-depth interviews were held with experts from large organizations, universities, startups, NGOs, and regulatory bodies involved in the areas of food manufacturing, food retail, restaurants and food platforms, food cooperatives, and food packaging and distribution.
Notes to editors
As per the United Nations Environment Program “Definition of food loss and waste”:
Food loss refers to food that gets spilled, spoilt, or otherwise lost, or incurs a deterioration in quality and value before reaching the final product stage. Food loss typically occurs at the production, post-harvest, distribution, or processing stages.
Food waste refers to food that has progressed to become a consumable product but is not consumed. Food waste may occur for any variety of reasons:
Capgemini is a global leader in partnering with companies to transform and manage their business by harnessing the power of technology. The Group is guided everyday by its purpose of unleashing human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future. It is a responsible and diverse organization of over 340,000 team members in more than 50 countries. With its strong 55-year heritage and deep industry expertise, Capgemini is trusted by its clients to address the entire breadth of their business needs, from strategy and design to operations, fueled by the fast evolving and innovative world of cloud, data, AI, connectivity, software, digital engineering, and platforms. The Group reported in 2021 global revenues of €18 billion.
Get The Future You Want | www.capgemini.com
About the Capgemini Research Institute The Capgemini Research Institute is Capgemini’s in-house think-tank on all things digital. The Institute publishes research on the impact of digital technologies on large traditional businesses. The team draws on the worldwide network of Capgemini experts and works closely with academic and technology partners. The Institute has dedicated research centers in India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was recently ranked #1 in the world for the quality of its research by independent analysts.Visit us at https://www.capgemini.com/researchinstitute/
 WWF, “Over 15% of food is lost before leaving the farm – WWF report,” July 21, 2021.
 United Nations Environment Programme, “Definition of food loss and waste, “UN: 17% of all food available at consumer levels is wasted,” March 4, 2021.
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