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Walmart to introduce new food label, with an eye toward reducing food waste

This month, Walmart plans to introduce a new food label that it hopes will help reduce food waste while keeping food prices low.

“With 795 million people in the world reportedly going hungry, food waste is an ugly problem to face,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart. “In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that consumers throw away $ 29 billion worth of edible food each year in their homes. Walmart is especially concerned with reducing food waste, not only because we’re the world’s largest grocer, but also as an integral part of our [everyday low cost] philosophy that provides you everyday low prices. Two culprits of food waste are confusion caused by food labels and the tossing of imperfect — but perfectly usable — fresh produce.”

According to Yiannas, current labeling is confusing to consumers as food-safety indicators. “Most of the labels are created based on peak quality,” he said in a recent blog. “Adding to the confusion is the different language used on labels, including ‘best by,’ ‘use by’ and ‘sell by.’ That’s why, in the last year, we started requiring suppliers of nonperishable food products under our Great Value private label to use a standardized date label, ‘Best if used by’.”

The switch will go into full effect this month and involves thousands of products. Yiannas said the change was motivated by the release of a report by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America in 2013.

“My team has been working on a solution since then,” he added. “I expect the standard labels to have an even bigger impact on waste reduction since many of our suppliers sell products under their own labels outside of Walmart. This is significant, as the global economic impact of food wastage comes to about $ 750 billion each year.”

John Forrest Ales, Walmart’s director of corporate communications, spoke with The Produce News in mid-July to talk about the problem of food waste and ways in which the company is addressing the issue. “At the heart of who we are is everyday low cost,” he said. “We take that incredibly seriously.”

Ales said Walmart has developed its own distribution system to source fresh produce on a global basis. “We have a unique supply chain. We have standards beyond the Food and Drug Administration as to what produce should look like,” he said. “Our farmers pack and sort according to these standards.”

Recently, questions have arisen about food waste and what has been termed “ugly” or “wonky” produce. Fresh produce that falls into this category may not look perfect on the outside, but still provide consumers with high-quality fresh produce when consumed because the flaws are cosmetic only. An example, Ales said, is a three-legged carrot growing from a common green top.

“Farmers find alternate uses for these in most cases,” he explained, saying that the volume of product that does not fit with Walmart’s standard is relatively small. “There’s not a lot of that moving through the supply chain. You can’t just create three-legged carrots.”

In some instances, Ales said Walmart works with its network of farmers to move whole lots of produce that may have been affected by weather conditions. Freezes are examples, he said, of more global events that might have an impact upon the quality of fresh produce.

In the meantime, Jordan Figueiredo, a municipal recycling agent in Castro Valley, CA, and food nutritionist Stefanie Sacks are planning to submit a petition to Walmart at its Bentonville, AR, headquarters on July 20 signed by persons who encourage Walmart to address food waste by making produce that is less than perfect cosmetically available at its stores.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Young entrepreneurs innovate in green energy with an in situ organic waste digester

Young Mexican entrepreneurs develop a bio-digestion plant capable of generating electricity from organic waste in the market of the Nopal Collection Center in Mexico City.

The company SUEMA, Sustainability in Energy and Environment, created by Jahir Mojica Hernández, Carlos Apipilhuasco Gonzalez Mejía and Nelly Rodriguez, designed a system for waste treatment and decided to implement it in the market sector due to the amount of waste they generate.

The plant will be located in Milpa Alta, a delegation in the south of Mexico City, and process three to five tons of waste per day operating 24 hours to generate its own electricity and illuminate the market. Thus benefiting from 65 tons of organic waste per month. The treatment plant will also nurish from sunlight.

Having an on-site plant will avoid transporting organic waste to the Bordo Poniente, city’s wasteland where it is processed, avoiding an extra expenditure of up to 640 pesos per tonne per day. With the capture of harmful greenhouse gases energy will be generated and an soil improver will be produced, which will be delivered to the farmers.

The soil improver, which is equivalent to a mixture of nutrients up to 600 kilograms per day, generates higher quality products, making the development attractive for traders, which will help in growing and marketing.

“The plant will improve competitiveness, image and increase the number of customers. It is intended to get people more interested in going to the market instead of a convenience store,” said the CEO of the company, Jahir Mojica.

“The public markets are entities of economy for the city and main supply centers for poor people; however, they have weakened against major foreign consortia, which often define the price of commodities,.”

SUEMA decided to use the Nopal Collection Center in Milpa Alta as host for the natural energy production plant, because the delegation has the first place in the waste separation program of the city; however, it is the one that receives less budget for infrastructure. “Tenants separate waste very well, it is a deeply rooted practice in this area,” said Carlos Apipilhuasco, director of Engineering.

Another achievement of the company is the construction of an innovation research center, with three research areas: soil improvement, thermal use of solar energy and bioenergy. (Agencia ID)

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers’ recipe: Cook farm waste into energy

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Guelph researchers are studying how to make biofuels from farm waste, especially “wet” waste that is typically difficult to use. They have developed a fairly simple procedure to transport waste and produce energy from it.

Scientists have struggled to find uses for wet and green waste, including corn husks, tomato vines and manure. Dry farm waste, such as wood chips or sawdust, is easier to use for generating power. Often, wet farm waste materials break down before reaching their destination.

Researchers led by engineering professor Animesh Dutta, director of the Bio-Renewable Innovation Lab (BRIL) at U of G, have found a solution: pressure cooking.

Cooking farm waste yields compact, easily transportable material that will not degrade and can be used in energy-producing plants.

Dutta said the research, which is published this week in the journal Applied Energy, shows that in a lab setting, biofuels can produce the same amount of energy as coal.

“What this means is that we have a resource in farm waste that is readily available, can produce energy at a similar level to burning coal, and does not require any significant start-up costs,” said Dutta.

“We are taking what is now a net-negative resource in farm waste, which farmers have to pay to remove, and providing an opportunity for them to make money and help the environment. It’s a closed-loop cycle, meaning we don’t have to worry about external costs.”

Using excess food, green and wet waste to reduce the carbon footprint is drawing a lot of interest in Europe, he said, but so far it has proven unfeasible in North America.

Coal is more readily available in North America. Biomass is highly rich in alkali and alkaline earth metals such as silicon, potassium, sodium and calcium. The presence of these metals in farm waste damages pipes at power plants during combustion.

The new biofuel product made by the BRIL researchers produces a product that has less alkali and alkaline earth metals, allowing them to be used at power plants.

“We’re able to produce small amounts of energy in our lab from these biofuels,” said Dutta.

“The next step is to take this outside of the lab. We have a number of industry partners and government ministries interested in this technology. Essentially, the agri-food sector could power the automotive industry.”

Dutta said large pressure cookers located near farms could accept and cook waste for transport to energy plants.

“We’re looking at a timeline of five to seven years, depending on the funding,” he said.

“Once we have a commercial system set up, we’ll be self-sufficient. It can reduce our energy costs and provide an environmental benefit. It’s going to change the paradigm of energy production in North America.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

New solutions to reducing food waste

While perusing the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2015 Culinary Forecast, an annual survey of close to 1,300 professional chefs, I was surprised to see a prediction that had nothing to do with what’s on the menu. An analysis of long-term trends says food waste reduction and management will be top concerns for restaurants next year.

One of the reasons the NRA cited for increased worries around food waste is the rising cost of food. (The association recently noted that wholesale food price inflation is at a three-year high.)

Obviously, letting food go to waste can be costly for any business, and supermarkets are just as susceptible as restaurants. A 2012 food waste study from the National Resources Defense Council, citing USDA estimates, said that food retailers lose $ 15 billion a year just from unsold produce.

Only about 40% of wasted food at supermarkets is recycled or donated, according to a Food Waste Reduction Alliance infographic released last month. That compares to 93.4% at manufacturing facilities and 10% to 60% at restaurants.

Given that there is still a long way to go to divert all of the food that retailers waste, it’s refreshing to see some companies trying out innovative practices beyond donations and composting.

Twelve Wegmans stores have begun sending food scraps to be turned into energy using anaerobic digesters, reports Rochester, N.Y.-based WROC. Just one store creates six tons per week of food trimmings that can be donated as part of the energy program. Overall, food waste accounts for 30% of Wegmans’ trash.

The anaerobic digester is located at a local farm, which is able to completely power its operations with the food scrap donations it receives.

The scraps converted to energy, combined with related composting efforts, amount to 150 tractor trailer loads of food diverted from landfills, wrote Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans’ sustainability coordinator, in a blog post on the retailer’s website.

Similarly, earlier this year New York’s Fairway Market installed aerobic digesters at nine stores. The Eco-Safe Digesters turn food scraps into gray water that can be sent to a standard sewer line.

Each digester can convert up to 2,500 pounds of food waste daily. Since the machines are located at the stores, they also eliminate emissions that would result from trucking scraps to a landfill.

Here’s hoping 2015 will see even more retailers taking advantage of all available options when it comes to reducing food waste.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarket News

Supermarket News

Kroger Makes Progress Towards Zero Waste

CINCINNATI — Kroger here committed to moving retail locations toward “zero waste” and sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil as it published its seventh annual sustainability report.

Kroger said it is moving toward the Environmental Protection Agency’s zero waste threshold of 90% in all Kroger retail locations. To get there, Kroger will increase the diversion rate to 65% for all stores by the end of 2013, and to 70% by the end of 2015. Today, the company diverts 58% of waste.

The company is also committed to sourcing 100% certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2015.  Kroger is working with supplier partners to transition out of unsustainable palm oil, as part of an effort prevent the loss of critical habitats, and support the protection of high conservation value forests.

“For 130 years, Kroger has aimed to serve each individual customer, every day, and to be good stewards of our communities and the environment,” said David Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “Our sustainability progress today is part of this proud heritage, thanks to more than 343,000 associates who are helping make each community we serve a better place to live.”

In other announcements in the report:

  • Kroger worked with more than 80 local food banks in 2012 to donate the equivalent of 200 million meals.
  • Through energy reduction, the implementation of a refrigerant management plan and improved fleet productivity, Kroger reported a 4.8%  drop in overall carbon footprint, despite growing in size and sales.
  • Since 2000, Kroger has reduced overall energy consumption in stores by 32.7%, saving more than 2.48 billion kilowatt-hourskWh—enough electricity to power every single family home in Columbus, Ohio, for one year.
  • Kroger has increased its fleet efficiency by 33.1% since 2008 and is on track to meet their goal of improved fleet efficiency by 40% by 2014.  The company’s store delivery fleet includes 2,700 tractors and 10,000 trailers and makes almost 5,400 deliveries every day.
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Supermarket News

Unique waste cleanup for rural areas developed

Washington State University researchers have developed a unique method to use microbes buried in pond sediment to power waste cleanup in rural areas.

The first microbe-powered, self-sustaining wastewater treatment system could lead to an inexpensive and quick way to clean up waste from large farming operations and rural sewage treatment plants while reducing pollution.

Professor Haluk Beyenal and graduate student Timothy Ewing in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture discuss the system in the online edition of Journal of Power Sources and have filed for a patent.

Cutting greenhouse gases

Traditionally, waste from dairy farms in rural areas is placed in a series of ponds to be eaten by bacteria, generating carbon dioxide and methane pollution, until the waste is safely treated. In urban areas with larger infrastructure, electrically powered aerators mix water in the ponds, allowing for the waste to be cleaned faster and with fewer harmful emissions.

As much as 5 percent of energy used in the U.S. goes for waste water treatment, said Beyenal. Most rural communities and farmers, meanwhile, can’t afford the cleaner, electrically powered aerators.

Microbial fuel cells use biological reactions from microbes in water to create electricity. The WSU researchers developed a microbial fuel cell that does the work of the aerator, using only the power of microbes in the sewage lagoons to generate electricity.

The researchers created favorable conditions for growth of microbes that are able to naturally generate electrons as part of their metabolic processes. The microbes were able to successfully power aerators in the lab for more than a year, and the researchers are hoping to test a full-scale pilot for eventual commercialization.

Hope for dairies

The researchers believe that the microbial fuel cell technology is on the cusp of providing useful power solutions for communities.

“Everyone is looking to improve dairies to keep them in business and to keep these family businesses going,” said Ewing.

The technology could also be used in underdeveloped countries to more effectively clean polluted water: “This is the first step towards sustainable wastewater treatment,” Ewing said.

Beyenal has been conducting research for several years on microbial fuel cells for low-power electronic devices, particularly for use in remote areas or underwater where using batteries is challenging. Last year, he and his graduate students used the microbes to power lights for a holiday tree.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Tina Hilding. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Packaged produce means less time, less waste, more variety

U.S. Market Trends:
Packaged produce means less time, less waste, more variety

More than 70% of U.S. households consume bagged/packaged salads. Considering the hectic pace of the average American’s daily routine, reliance on the convenience and variety offered by bagged salads and other types of ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit will be a key factor spurring the U.S. market for these products from $ 5.5 billion in 2013 to $ 7 billion by 2018, according to Branded Packaged Produce and Salads: U.S. Market Trends, a recent report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

Consumers can incorporate these healthy bagged foods into their diets without the washing, peeling, trimming, chopping, and other steps often required when preparing fresh produce. Waste and spoilage are minimized. Value-added products packaged with condiments or toppings that complement the specific blend of fruits or vegetables take the guesswork out of how to serve the dish or the meal.

Interestingly enough, bagged/packaged salad consumers are exceptionally likely to exhibit foodie attitudes and behaviours, notes Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. Consumers with adventurous palates have the opportunity to sample foods they may be unfamiliar with, such as quinoa, soba noodles, edamame, and especially greens like those often found in spring mix (e.g., mizuna, tango, arugula, radicchio, lolla rosa, tatsoi, chicory, frisee, mache).

Furthermore, the report reveals that consumers of branded packaged produce and salads are well above average in many health-related respects. They are trend-setters as well, trying any new diet or health food, and knowledgeable, as friends seek their advice about health and nutrition.

For more information on Branded Packaged Produce and Salads: U.S. Market Trends and other reports in Packaged Facts’ industry-leading catalogue of food and beverage market research reports please visit: www.packagedfacts.com/.

Publication date: 8/22/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Study Tallies Food Waste Diversion Efforts

WASHINGTON — Food manufacturing companies generate more food waste than food retailers, but also divert a higher percentage of it to other uses, according to a new study.

The report, the BSR Analysis of Food Waste Among Food Manufacturers, Retailers & Wholesalers, conducted by consulting firm BSR, estimated that in 2011, manufacturers generated 44.3 billion pounds of food waste, and diverted 94.6% of it from landfills to “higher” uses, such as donations and recycling. Retailers, meanwhile, generated an estimated 3.8 billion pounds of food waste, but diverted only 55.6% to higher uses.


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In total an estimated 4.1 billion points of food waste was disposed of in landfills or incinerators in 2011, or 8.5% of the food waste generated. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of food diverted from manufacturers went to animal feed, while food donation and composting were the most common diversion destination for food waste at the retailer and wholesaler level.

The report was commissioned by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, which is led by Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute and National Restaurant Association. It concluded that companies have opportunities to continue to reduce the amount of food waste they generate and to identify options for directing it to higher uses.

Read more: Industry Coalition Joins USDA Food Waste Challenge

“The findings uncovered by BSR are encouraging, but it’s clear we can and must do better when it comes to reducing food waste,” said Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainability programs, Publix Super Markets, and co-chair of the FWRA. “It’s important to find more ways to keep food and food waste out of landfills, identify the challenges that prevent us from doing so, and develop responsible policies to assist in these efforts.”

Susan Kujava, industry relations director at General Mills and co-chair of the FWRA, said, “The primary objective of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance is to reduce the volume of food waste sent to landfill by addressing the root causes of waste, and securing pathways to donate safe food or recycle it for use elsewhere. This new data not only helps us better understand how industry currently is managing food waste, it gives us a benchmark against which we can measure our progress.”

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Microalgae capable of assimilating ammonia resulting from the management of agrifood waste

The Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, the public body that reports to the Sub-Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community, has confirmed the capacity of Chlamydomonas acidophila microalgae to absorb ammoniacal nitrogen present in the effluent generated in the digestion of organic waste coming from the agri-food sector. These algae can grow in these liquids and assimilate the ammonium, which prevents this gas from being volatilised in the form of ammonia (NH3) and contaminating the atmosphere. Furthermore, the microalgae biomass obtained in this procedure can be used as a raw material for producing biogas or used as animal feed, compost or fertilizer besides being an extraordinary source of lutein, a powerful antioxidant used as a food supplement.

The decomposition process of agri-food waste in oxygen-free conditions produces effluent that has a high content of ammoniacal nitrogen, specifically between 2 and 5 grams per litre. Significant quantities of this waste is produced on farms and biogas plants, among other facilities. That is why it is essential to find suitable methods for managing it and for preventing the ammonia from being volatilised and ending up in aquifers and surface waters.

Chlamydomonas acidophila microalgae display characteristics suited to growing and reproducing in a medium that contains up to 50% of the liquid that comes from the decomposition of agri-food waste, as Neiker-Tecnalia researchers have been able to confirm. The main advantage in cultivating them lies in their capacity to develop in very acid mediums (pH 2-3) and to tolerate, to a high degree, the presence of heavy metals and high organic loads.

In addition to their environmental contribution owing to their capacity to assimilate ammoniacal nitrogen, they have a significant capacity to produce lutein, a powerful antioxidant that helps to delay cell and tissue deterioration and oxidation; lutein protects the organism from free radicals attack and is used in various therapeutic treatments. Optimum consumption of it leads to better vision, prevents cataract progression and also accumulates a large quantity of carotenoids -organic pigments- of commercial interest for the food industry.

Neiker-Tecnalia is currently developing various lines of research devoted to identifying and subsequently assessing microalgae strains that are of commercial and environmental interest. Among the projects being conducted features the quest for oil-rich microalgae that can be used to obtain biodiesel.

Source of new products and applications

Microalgae form a heterogeneous group of microorganisms distributed across all imaginable environments and which share the characteristic of being photosynthetic. These organisms perform an essential role in global ecology since they are responsible for fixing about 50% of the planet’s carbon. Through photosynthesis they use solar energy to trap atmospheric carbon dioxide and turn it into organic carbon.

Due to their huge biodiversity, microalgae represent one of the most promising sources of new products and applications. Today, they are a source of a large variety of compounds and biomolecules with a high commercial value and applications as wide ranging as food, dietetics, fine chemicals, biomedicine, cosmetics and bioenergy, all of which are an indication of their biotechnological potential.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Basque Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

The fight against waste in the soft fruit chain

Global Berry Congress
The fight against waste in the soft fruit chain

Sustainability is an important issue for the horticultural industry, with waste at the core of it all. During the Global Berry Congress in Amsterdam Jonathan Sutton, from Marks & Spencer, Leon Terry, representing Cranfield University, Dominique Scaffolding, of Bayer CropScience and Paul Moody, of It’s Fresh, talked about ways to reduce and prevent waste.


Jonathan Sutton (M&S): “For 2015, we aim to become the most sustainable retailer.”

Sustainable retailers

M&S is working in various areas to improve sustainability. The retailer has set itself a goal to become the most sustainable retailer by 2015. To achieve this goal, the company is looking for strategies to turn stores more sustainable, but not only the stores, also the chains behind those stores. Jonathan Sutton mentioned several challenges that M&S is addressing: energy efficiency, switching to renewable energy and reducing waste. The latter is done in two ways; on the one hand, through a search for methods to improve the products’ shelf life, and on the other hand, by using rotten or spoiled products to generate energy. M&S is also investing in extending the British market season, by which the number of ‘food miles’ is reduced.


Leon Terry: “More research is needed on when and where waste occurs.”

Innovating to reduce waste
Leon Terry, representing Cranfield University, points to a weakness of the existing studies on waste. There are really very few new conclusions. According to Terry, more research needs to be done as to when and where waste is generated, as then the root of the problem could be tackled. The raw figures about total waste do not mean much. Many innovations aim to increase productivity, but that has to change. To address the real problem of waste, innovations should target this problem specifically.


Paul Moody (It’s Fresh) and Dominique Steiger (Bayer Cropscience) on prevention of waste at the beginning and end of the chain.

Extending shelf life
Paul Moody, from It’s Fresh, and Dominique Steiger, of Bayer CropScience, addressed two techniques that could prevent soft fruit from quickly becoming rotten or mouldy. It’s Fresh has developed a technique consisting in the absorption of ethylene by a small mat placed on soft fruit trays. With this technique, the fruit’s ripening process is slowed down. The challenge for the sector is in the final kilometres of the product’s shipment; from the supermarket to the consumer at home. For this last stretch, a lot still needs to improve. To put this into perspective, Paul Moody said that every day 32% of the soft fruit sold is thrown away.


Participants of session 4 during the Global Berry Congress: Jonathan Sutton (M&S), Leon Terry (Cranfield University), Paul Moody (It’s Fresh), Dominique Steiger (Bayer CropScience) and host Chris White (Eurofruit).

While Paul Moody focused on the final stage of the chain, Dominique Steiger zoomed in on the growers and crops. A portion of the harvest is lost due to dormant pathogens that are present on the fruit. In order to prevent this, Bayer CropScience has developed a plant protection product, Luna, which attacks the pathogens at an early stage, extending the fruit’s shelf life and thereby reducing waste.

Publication date: 4/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Food waste deserves more attention, says Fresh Summit panel

NEW ORLEANS — By some accounts, as much as 50 percent of the food grown or produced for consumption in the United States is lost or wasted along the way.

While almost half of those losses come at the consumer level, the other half is “wasted” along the supply chain, which means there are great opportunities to reduce that number for both the benefit of the bottom line and to feed those in this country that are less fortunate.

That was the take-home message of a workshop session called Produce Waste: Turn a Loss to Your Advantage held during the recent Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit convention, here.

Kathy Means, vice president of government relations and public affairs for PMA, and a group of panelists discussed the issue of produce waste from a number of different of angles.

Means set the stage for the discussion with some sobering thoughts about food waste in this country. When deposited in landfills and left to rot, food waste produces methane gas, which is many more times harmful than carbon dioxide and is considered a major contributor to man-made climate change. It also is an economic drain as many resources are used to both produce and dispose of those unused items.

In trying to eliminating waste by various methods, Means introduced an inverse pyramid model that graphically explained solutions ranging from source reduction at the broad-based top to landfills at the bottom tip of the illustration.

In a perfect world, the best method is source reduction, followed by feeding hungry people, feeding animals, industrial uses to generate energy, composting and then finally a very small amount headed to landfills.

The panelists discussed these various methods and how every member along the supply chain can help fight the battle against food waste.

Of course, one of the most commonly used strategies is to donate good but unsaleable fruits and vegetables to charities that feed the poor and hungry. All the panelists discussed this option, including Lisa Davis, vice president of public policy for Feeding America in Washington, DC; Kevin Seggelke, president and chief executive officer of the Food Banks of the Rockies; Michael Hewett, director of environmental and sustainable programs for Florida-based Publix Supermarkets; and Maureen Torrey Marshall, one of the co-owners of Torrey Farms, Elba, NY.

Both Davis and Seggelke explained that sourcing more produce is a strong initiative of Feeding America, which is the umbrella group for the nation’s network of food banks.

There is a tremendous need in this country for free food, as Davis said about 49 million Americans do not know where their next meal is coming from on any given day. Providing this group of people with nutritious food is the goal of Feeding America.  

Seggelke and his team provided the Rocky Mountain corridor that they serve with more than 90 million pounds of food last year with 24 million pounds of it being fresh produce.

Both of these panelists from the food bank community indicated that they are interested in forging partnerships with many more suppliers to help use unsaleable produce. Growers, shippers and others along the supply chain get the benefit of donating food and the additional benefit of reducing their waste disposal costs.

Hewett of Publix discussed several different initiatives that chain store has launched to reduce its waste and be a positive force in the community.

He also reported on the activities of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an organization of retailers, manufacturers and suppliers that is exploring this problem and developing best practices to create a blueprint for waste reduction.

He said some best practices are as simple as better marketing programs, while others involve the building of plants to create energy or getting involved in composting collaborations.

For example, Tesco has developed a strategy of allowing customers who are participating in a “buy one, get one free” program to buy now and get the free one later to reduce the possibility of overstocking their own refrigerators. Wegman’s is using waste for a composting project on its own company farm. Kroger has gotten involved in the building of an anaerobic digester to produce energy and saleable compost.

Torrey Marshall relayed the very progressive approach her company has taken toward food waste. The company is working with a local food bank; it is composting product for use on its own farms; and it is in the midst of building an anaerobic digester in partnership with others to both reduce waste and create energy.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines