Impact Story

Finding more food through less waste

One of the most significant sustainability issues facing the world today is food loss and waste.   

According to the UN, food loss and waste generates around 8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions each year. It also undermines efforts to preserve biodiversity, sustainable land and water use, and more.  

Then there’s the societal impact. WHO research shows that 2.3 billion people in the world (29.3%) were moderately or severely food insecure in 2021. Yet somehow, a third of all the food we produce is lost or wasted (UNEP).   

On the list of global innovation priorities in sustainability, food loss and waste prevention clearly belongs at the top.  

Securing cold chain confidence  

Sustainable Food Waste (SFW) is a Helsingborg Innovation District-based company that saw the potential for change. And realised an innovation to minimise the estimated 14% of all food lost due to fluctuations in the transport cold chain.  

In the past, transporters were often faced with protracted warranty disputes and returns of perishable food that could not be sold due to temperature changes during transport. Critically, the food was often not spoiled. However, the uncertainty of the food’s resulting quality forced wholesalers and retailers to reject it outright. At the same time, the temperature fluctuations often led to only minimal degradation that would only practically impact its use-by date.   

Jacob Petersson and Nazih Hazime founded SFW on their observations of the resulting losses during a summer job with a local food industry actor. Customers can now scan items or pallets, and get a scientifically validated assessment of the food’s condition, and what impact temperature changes may have made to its use-by date.   

The result? A tool for producers, transporters, insurers and wholesalers that secures their confidence in the condition of the delivery, and provides them with better transaction decision-making support. And that, quite effectively, minimises the unnecessary losses and waste of food that used to be generated in the cold chain.  

Field to table innovation  

A cross-collaborative development process, from investment to outside research expertise, ensured the SFW sustainability impact would be backed by a sound business case. After all, anomalies in the cold chain account for approximately 112 billion dollars annually (EUFIC, 2021). SFW technology is helping partners do great by doing good.   

It’s a particularly beneficial technology in Helsingborg, which is a busy and well-established logistics crossroad for goods transport, including perishables, in Northern Europe. SFW technology gives transporters a tool for easy assessment of goods conditions, empowering decision-making to reassess use-by dates rather than discard valuable food.  

Ultimately, the technology has the potential for global application—and impact. Secure food production and transport chains are cornerstones to a sustainable planet. Transformational global impact innovations, like SFW, can help us get there. 

Finding more food through less waste
Foto of Nazih Hazime and Jacob Petersson from the Sustainable Food Waste.
Nazih Hazime and Jacob Petersson from the Sustainable Food Waste.

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