Commercial Food Wastage

Shocking statistics, coming out of Pack EXPO 2014 (a leading trade show in the USA), reveals that 40% of all food harvested does not reach the supermarket refrigerated display cabinet! Insofar as meat is concerned 10% to 12% is either spoilt in cold storage or lost through excessive trimming as a result of drying out.

The source does not make mention of why and how these losses come about, but one can safely assume that insufficient attention being paid to adopting proper cold chain storage practises, would make up a large proportion of these numbers.

Commercial farmers and food processing plants tend to respectively store their freshly harvested and fresh produce deliveries in cold rooms with insufficient relative humidity levels. As fresh produce, on average contains 90% water, same should be stored (even for short periods) in a cold chain that has a similar humidity level (RH) or at least not less than 80% RH. Ideally, even the pack house packing floor should have a RH in the high 80% to low 90% which will ensure that post packaged fresh produce will have a longer shelf life.

Simultaneously, failure to remove ethylene gas and airborne bacteria in fresh produce cold chains is a recipe for disaster – not only will the produce shrink and shrivel, it will also have a substantially reduced shelf life post packaging.

The challenge farm and food processing management has is where to find appropriate technologies to resolve the foregoing profit-sapping realities? One could consider the solutions offered at to increase fresh produce shelf life as well as reduce meat weight losses in cold storage.