Back to News

Want to boost profits? Build sustainability into your business

Reference: FCC

Inefficiencies and food waste can seem like an inevitable cost of doing business – but they don’t have to be.

Even low-tech, low-cost investments into a company’s technology and culture can improve both profitability and sustainability.

Food waste top priority

According to Cher Mereweather, President and Chief Executive Officer for Provision Coalition – an organization that works with food processors to implement sustainability strategies – product wastage is one of the most significant problems facing all Canadian food processors. By consequence, it also highlights significant opportunities.

Processors and manufacturers may not think their businesses generate a lot of avoidable waste, but the numbers suggest otherwise. In an analysis of 50 different Canadian food companies, Provision Coalition, along with partners at the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity and Wal-Mart, estimated 11.3 million kilograms of food products are unnecessarily wasted or downgraded annually.

Extra effort could mean extra revenue

Part of the issue stems from lack of recognition about what waste is and the impact of secondary markets. While lower-quality and damaged product, or that otherwise unsuitable for primary use, often goes to markets with lower profitability, Mereweather says a significant portion could have made it to the primary revenue stream with a little extra effort.

“What’s the true cost of the energy, labour and raw ingredients that went into making that product up to that point?” she says. “If you prevent it from going to secondary markets, that’s going to go directly to your bottom line. It’s product you can put in your package and sell.”

Small changes can make big differences

Nova Scotia-based poultry processor Eden Valley Poultry, which employs around 400 people, uncovered $95,000 in savings when they cleaned their chicken leg conveyor system one extra time during the production day. The cleaning relieved tension on chains and gears and reduced miscuts, which was a major cause of product loss on that line.

They also saved an additional $27,000 by installing a guard where thighs were separated from drumsticks. This closed a gap in the processing line and prevented chicken pieces from falling on the floor.
Dean Gurney, director of corporate social responsibility for the meat processor, says these findings better informed all staff of “the challenges and opportunities associated with food waste.”... Read More