Customers: Public Perception
Recent years have seen an increase in awareness towards wastage across supply chains, where a 2012 WRAP survey has shown that over 70% of individuals are aware of the harm that food wastage brings to the environment.
The increasing public concern (particularly on social media) suggests it’s vital for companies to actively engage and work towards improving public perception through emphasizing and better highlighting the company’s sustainability commitments - which more often than not already exists but are not well communicated to consumers.
Retailers: Better Analysis
When it comes to improving data sources used for sales forecasting, “assortment analysis” focuses on isolating demand of a combination of product attributes to allow for better assortment optimization & clustering of stores for assortments. Other than that, social listening can be used to extract data from social media. Specifically, companies can develop a path to purchase for special occasions and utilize social listening tools to extract the different data along the path to purchase.
Typical computer analysis forecasting tools include: Genetic Algorithms, Artificial Neural Networks, Gaussian Processes, and Support Vector Machines. Specifically, the latter 2 analysis techniques has shown good promise, with Support Vector Machines having large amount of supporting research evidence.
Suppliers: Inventory and Disposal
Supply chain systems that allows the suppliers place the orders for the retailers and are responsible for determining quantity and timing of those orders. Such systems allow for better inventory management, reduced variability in stocks and better synchronization and collaboration. However, the main setbacks to this are that there are risk of loss from out-of- stocks and more autonomy needs to be handed over to suppliers.
Two options exist for unloading unsalvageable food: donation and disposals. Specifically for disposals, there are various methods, of which anaerobic digestion, rendering, and composting are more likely to be positively received by the public, but greater scientific consensus is yet to be realized.