From farm to machine: How to reduce food loss at the manufacturing plant

By Roberto Franchitti, executive vice-president of services at Tetra Pak

Food loss and waste is one of the most urgent challenges facing the food manufacturing industry today. Reducing waste is part of the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal, which seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, while the third target under this goal includes reducing food loss in production and supply chains (including post-harvest losses) by 2030. Looking inside the factory, how can manufacturers work to optimise their production lines and eliminate waste from their processes?

At Tetra Pak, our mission is clear: to make food safe and available, everywhere. We take great pride in being the leading provider of food processing technology and packaging solutions. But our purpose extends far beyond that. We are committed to “Protecting What’s Good” – safeguarding food, people, and the planet.

A key element of this mission is that our services business model is entirely built upon the principles of the circular economy. Instead of simply selling new processing equipment to our customers, which often leads to disposal and waste, we have taken a different approach. Our focus lies in ensuring that our processing lines run as efficiently and for as long as possible. We offer a range of services, including repair, refurbishment, upgrading and even reselling of the used equipment we provide. This has been a 15-year journey, expanding the services offering, step by step.

The wider trajectory of our industry is moving towards servitisation, which means we have the opportunity to explore new circular and innovative design and business models based on output rather than assets. We are constantly challenging ourselves to think beyond the traditional boundaries, seeking ways to maximise the value and lifespan of our equipment while minimising waste. This can be done at every stage of production; by streamlining processes, food and beverage producers can maximise output while minimising the strain on finite resources.

Clear measurement and benchmarking is one way to identify if there are inefficiencies or waste in food production lines. Producers can then establish methods to minimise product loss, while reducing carbon emissions and water consumption. For example, with Tetra Pak Expert Services, eight food manufacturers in the Americas managed to optimise their operational performance and reduce their CO2 emissions by a combined 7.62 kilotons, equivalent to 9% of total plant emissions.

Tetra Pak’s suite of waste reduction solutions includes consumables, plant components and upgrades, such as water filtration solutions and consumables for wastewater reduction at various areas in a customer plant. Meanwhile, our asset management solutions for equipment incorporates Customised Outcome-based Solutions, Maintenance Units and Remote Support. This increases the uptime of the equipment and reduces response time alongside repairs and reuse to prolong the equipment lifetime.

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