Consumers have so much more power in reducing food waste. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, very little food is wasted in poor and developing countries, whereas, in the U.S., nearly 40 percent or 150 billion pounds, of the food supply is thrown away annually.
During a recent audit engagement, I was introduced to the term Responsible Vendor Sourcing Program (“RVSP”), also known as Supply Chain Responsibility. SupplyChainBrain.com defines responsible or sustainable sourcing as the integration of social, ethical and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. Primarily, under this program, food and beverage companies support those suppliers that take environmentally responsible actions in reducing waste with a focus on sustainability.
For consumers, the demand for supply chain transparency has had a substantial impact on food and beverage companies. Food and beverage companies are forced to take costly actions in vetting their suppliers conscientiously. The good news is that the majority of consumers are willing to pay more for a product that is ethically sourced.
Consumers have many simple ways to help minimize the amount of food waste; for example:
- Stop buying too much
- Finish eating all food
- Buy ugly fruits and vegetables
- When eating out, take away leftovers
- Freeze food
- Donate excess food
A study done by the World Economic Forum indicates desirable results such as a 5 percent to 20 percent increase in revenue, a nine percent to 16 percent reduction in cost and a 15 percent to 30 percent boost in brand value in companies engaging RVSP. In his whitepaper, David McClintock lays down a five-step guide that businesses can adopt a sustainable procurement plan. These steps include:
- Build and quantify the business case by assessing how it lines up with the company’s core values and sustainability goals
- Benchmark industry and competitors and evaluate how the company fits into this initiative
- Look for internal alert signals that may indicate a risk of future events that could impact the brand, disturb supply, delay delivery or have other adverse consequences
- Consider customers’ sustainability needs and requirements
- Recruit champions and early-adopters to collaborate with
Is your food and beverage company ready to put a sustainable sourcing plan in place? Contact GHJ Food and Beverage Advisors here for more resources on reducing waste and implementing a sustainable resource plan.