Using Inventory Management To Minimize Food Wastage


People may be tempted to think insufficient food production is the reason for the chronic hunger issues plaguing India. But, it isn’t true. In India, 40 percent fruits and vegetables and 20 percent of grains are destroyed due to insufficient infrastructure and inefficient supply chains. Food doesn’t reach consumers. Food worth as much as Rs. 50,000 crore is wasted every year. The wastage has other ramifications too. It results in the release of tons of methane gas from garbage, thus, polluting the environment. Millions of gallons of water that was used to cultivate food goes waste. It is a colossal loss.

India fares poorly on IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index

No wonder, a big part of the Indian population suffers from hunger. On the Global Hunger Index, India stands at the 97th position. According to a report by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), one-sixth of the population is undernourished; 190 million people go hungry daily. About 30% children below 5 years of age are underweight. India accounts for 30% of neo-natal deaths internationally, linked to malnutrition.

“Reducing food waste would have a game-changing impact on natural resources depletion and degradation, food insecurity, national security and climate change,” said an official of Rethink Food Waste through Economics and Data, a US-based think-tank.

Hunger levels are the highest in Asia and Africa

Hunger levels are actually the highest in Africa and Asia. According to the report, 52 countries, from the two continents, have alarming or serious levels of hunger. Globally, a greater number of people die of hunger compared to Aids, malaria, tuberculosis put together. Internationally, 45% children die due to insufficient nutrition. Around 64% of the world’s poorest live in India, Bangladesh, China, Nigeria, and Congo. Various international organizations are active in hunger alleviation such as the United Nation’s World Food Programme, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NGOs like The Hunger Project, Fight Hunger Foundation, Astha Shakti, Akshaya Patra that are trying to eradicate the problem.

Leverage technology to reduce food wastage through better management

The Indian Government must leverage modern technology such as the inventory management systems to minimize food wastage and also to prevent hoarding and black marketing. Storage infrastructure must be bolstered at the supply chain level. Inventory management systems can help in aspects of food delivery and storage as well as prevent wastage. They can provide a 360º view of stock levels, operations, as well as inventory. This will ensure that resources are managed effectively. A repository of inventory must be maintained together with visibility of supply chain. It can be optimized and thus help in preventing overstocking and shortage. Stocks can be reordered automatically at right time at warehouse to prevent wastage. Moreover, supply chain management issues and warehousing can be tackled by putting up robust preservation and storage facilities. A public–private model can also be followed to put up structures the government finds itself unable to install.

Small businesses must reap the benefits of modern technology

“In fact, modern inventory management should be made available to retailers, particularly small businesses as a number of big corporate retailers have already installed those systems. Small retailers will be able to forecast as well as share data throughout the supply chain so that the two aspects of supply and demand can be optimized, says Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a global cloud provider that makes inventory management software.