Toronto – Ontario’s produce industry is taking environmental sustainability to heart.
The Ontario Produce Marketing Association’s (OPMA) food waste reduction initiative has just gone through the first of four case studies examining the issue.
In a statement, OPMA explains that Value Chain Management International (VCMI) – a company that helps organizations identify and reduce food waste along the value chain – worked with EarthFresh Foods, an Ontario produce company that specializes in potatoes, and growers to “increase the quality and value of table potatoes, from field to consumer.”
The case study outlines how OPMA held workshops with companies to show them tools and techniques to reduce waste. The statement explains that “food waste is a visible symptom of wider opportunities to improve business performance.”
The case study also explains how companies can manage production, handling, storage and grading/packing of table potatoes in order to market potatoes strategically.
“This results in producers and downstream businesses having the opportunity to increase revenues and reduce costs in ways that are not otherwise possible,” says the statement.
OPMA says the case study found that proactively managing each step can lead to a 29 per cent increase in the percentage of potatoes that meet customers’ specifications, which equates to a 74 per cent increase in grower margins. In other words, on a 50,000-lb load of potatoes, growers could see a return of $6,000. The statement explains that potatoes typically cost $4,000 an acre to grow.
EarthFresh says it’s pleased with the results of the case study. Tom Hughes, the company’s president, says in the statement that “everyone can improve their potato operations in some way. The study shows how important it is to try to do even the little things correctly. And if you succeed, the rewards can be very substantial.”
For more, visit, www.theopma.ca or www.vcm-international.com