business news in context, analysis with attitude

The San Diego Union-Tribune has a story noting that with the increase in food prices in the US has come an greater interest in waste, as supermarkets, restaurants and other institutions look to compensate for rising costs by doing a better job of managing and reducing shrink.

It isn’t a small problem. According to the story, “About 30 percent of food in the United States goes to waste, costing about $48 billion annually, according to a Stockholm Water Institute study released this summer. A 2004 University of Arizona study put the total higher, estimating that 40 percent to 50 percent of U.S. food is wasted.”

The waste takes place at both ends of the process. At the beginning of the food chain, “millions of tons (are) being lost along the way as crops are hauled hundreds of miles, stored for weeks in refrigerators and prepared on hectic restaurant assembly lines.” At the retail end, “some are tracking their trash with software systems, making food in smaller batches or trying to compost and cut down on trash-hauling costs.”

In a related story, the Boston Globe this morning reports that a Massachusetts Whole Foods commissary soon will use “the same canola oil that's being used to fry Asian shrimp balls and popcorn chicken (to ) help power the walk-in freezer and the overhead lights” … By next year, a generator that's powered by the used cooking oil will provide all the electricity needed here - about 2 million kilowatt hours a year.”

According to the story, “the cooking-oil generator, which will hook into the plant's electricity distribution system and operate in tandem with National Grid's utility lines, is expected to save Whole Foods at least 20 percent of the commissary's energy and waste costs.”

KC's View:
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

It is called looking everywhere for every possible competitive advantage. Which makes sense.