Cool Chain Association: Standards needed to prevent waste of a third of world food supply

Papayas were one of the food products Schuler observed in his study on perishables transportation between Brazil and Europe

This week, the Cool Chain Association (CCA) hosted its bi-annual event in Luxembourg to discuss industry trends – this time, narrowing in on the waste and spoilage associated with the supply chain of edible perishables.

Shrinkage in supply chain logistics is a tale as old as time, but the CCA is now calling for a change in attitude within the industry, pointing to the startling statistic that an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food – a third of all produced – is wasted along the supply chain each year.

The organization’s chairman, Stavros Evangelakakis, who is also global product manager of healthcare and perishables at Luxembourgish all-cargo carrier Cargolux, said that the air cargo community should lead the way in setting its own industry standard. “We should aim for quality, not wait for other agencies to come up with standards,” he said. “We should look internally and act now.”

The overarching theme of the event was efficiency, which has become more measurable thanks to modern data collection methods and the digitalization of operations management. Still, achieving efficiency is easier said than done. The fragmented nature of the supply chain creates communication hurdles between partners, making planning more difficult.

The CCA commissioned Philippe Schuler, a food waste prevention consultant and keynote speaker of the event, to conduct a “farm to fork” study of the transportation of papayas from Brazil to Europe to observe the waste phenomenon. Schuler’s research, “Papayas – studying waste in perishable logistics,” is available to CAA members.

“The information needs to be made accessible,” Schuler said. “When we all start to have access to the data, we can start to solve the problems.”

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