How Food Distributors Reduce Spoilage and Waste with Technology

Dave Foreman

The USDA estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the total food supply is wasted currently.

Prior to the pandemic and subsequent supply chain challenges, one of the key reasons driving the desire to reduce food waste was the consumers’ prioritizing sustainability. At that time, the food industry was responding with innovative means of sourcing, transporting, and preparing food more sustainably.

Now, with supply chain slow-downs and worker shortages across the board, making the most of the food supply that is available is more critical than ever and reducing waste to maximize your profit margins is a key to success. 

Technology Takes On Food Waste

According to a recent US Foods survey, a majority of American restaurants are seeking out technology solutions to reduce their food waste. 3 out of 5 restaurant owners indicate that they currently have systems in place to, at least partially, track their food waste. For example, a restaurant can use smartphones and tablets, combined with a powerful inventory management program, to keep up-to-the-minute inventory records, preventing unnecessary orders and reducing waste. Programs that help restaurants analyze the fine details of their operations can also help with food waste reduction.

Time For Distributors to Catch Up

Food distributors need to embrace similar technologies to reduce spoilage and prevent food waste. Distributors are in a prime position to effect change in the industry, and companies that embrace new technologies will have a competitive advantage. As in restaurant businesses, technology can help food distributors better anticipate customers’ needs, track ordering and inventory more accurately, and fine tune their overall operations to increase efficiency.

Prime FoodService Software is an ERP solution tailored to food distributors; it allows distributors to improve efficiencies across all aspects of their operations from route management to streamlined ordering to customer communication. Increased efficiency reduces the risks of spoilage and wasted food: when miles are shaved off of a delivery route, or products are stocked based on their ability to sell, food distributors can become part of the solution to the food waste problem.

In addition to driving profitability, using technology to reduce food waste can make food distribution companies more attractive to like-minded restaurants. Food distributors need to look at the trends in the restaurant industry and make use of innovative solutions to be competitive.