Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
Food waste is a global problem resulting in major environmental impact. Around 150-300 kg food per capita is wasted or lost from the supply chain. Intelligent packaging can be used to reduce food waste when used in supply chain management based on Quality Controlled Logistics (QCL). Intelligent packaging senses compounds in the package that correlate with the critical quality attribute of a food product. The information of the sensors on the quality of each individual packaged food item can be used for decision support for QCL.
It is demonstrated how monitoring food quality in combination with mathematical modelling enables the use of dynamic expiration dates (DED) on food packages. The use of DED allows for more sophisticated issuing policies that the current often applied First In First Out (FIFO) issuing policy. The effect of these policies on reducing food waste is demonstrated by scenario simulations of using the information of intelligent packaging in supply chain management. These simulations show that QCL by using the information on the quality of products that is provided by intelligent packaging can reduce food waste by more than 50% compared to FIFO or other issuing policies. The results from consumers studies showed that dynamic pricing based on the DED from the electronic sensor signal can strongly influence consumer behaviour and help to reduce waste at the retailer by optimizing supply chain management.
This research explains and quantifies the potential of intelligent packaging to reduce food waste in multiple ways in the food chain.