The concept of food waste management (FMW) has gained traction with the declaration of food waste reduction as a target in the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.
Countries across the globe are showing greater interest in reducing as well as managing food wastage.
The present gap between the amount of food waste generated globally and the number of storage and recycling facilities in operation translates to significant opportunities for the development of effective FWM technologies.
The policies favoring food waste reduction in Europe and North America and the setting of global targets greatly aid the development of FWM technologies, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.
The most popular methods for FWM at present are composting and anaerobic digestion.
However, they do not help salvage unspoilt food from the food waste.
These processes can also be energy intensive, substantially reducing the overall environmental benefits of FWM.
“Currently, there is a demand for technologies that can convert food unfit for human consumption to animal feed,” said TechVision research analyst Lekshmy Ravi.
“Technology developers are simultaneously working on repackaging or repurposing food waste to food for human consumption using less energy-intensive solutions and employing novel management models.”
There are considerable research and industry initiatives for the conversion of food waste to products such as plastics, fruit juices and food ingredients.
Additionally, innovative FWM companies are trying to convert food waste to valuable products such as liquid fuels.
While technology developers are looking to eliminate inefficiencies in FWM, it is also necessary to form strategic partnerships along the various links of the food supply chain. These synergies can help improve the efficiency of FWM and facilitate the exchange of technologies and techniques.
“Eventually, companies are likely to adopt models that enable the efficient and cost-effective extraction of valuable products from food waste,” noted Ravi.
“Overall, key emerging opportunities are expected to be in the extraction of edible ingredients from food waste, conversion of misshapen fruits to saleable products, and conversion of byproducts from food production.”