Food waste is a growing, recurring problem all over the world. As per Earth.org, around one-third of the food production for human consumption is either wasted or lost globally. It amounts to 1.3 billion tonnes, which would be enough to feed 3 billion people. And yet, 1 in 9 people go hungry, or are malnourished. The numbers are staggering, and yet, there isn’t enough awareness about food waste.
Not all hope is lost, though. Some unique business ideas are cropping up to reduce food waste. Equipped with these new business ideas, you can play your part in helping the environment.
Reasons for Food Wastage
Food is wasted or lost due to several reasons, such as
- Bad weather
- Faulty harvesting practices
- Inadequate agricultural equipment
- Crop failure due to diseases
- Excess plantation in hopes of surplus
- Inefficient transportation
- Inefficient storage methods
- Rejection based on appearance
- Preparation of extra food, and more.
Why should you start a Business to reduce Food Waste?
Before we move on to the new business ideas that will help reduce food waste, it’s essential to understand how real the problem of food waste is, and what issues it can cause.
1. Water Wastage
The amounts of water used in agricultural production are enormous. If food is wasted, the water used to produce it is also destroyed. When resources are thinly stretched, 25% of the water used in food production is lost.
2. Biodiversity Loss
To meet rising food demands, governments often give away forest land to farmers. Forests are cut down, destroying the wildlife in that region. Similarly, overfishing harms the marine ecosystem.
3. Methane Production
Food thrown out will make its way to landfills. As is known already, landfills themselves are an ongoing problem for the environment. As food decomposes, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is highly harmful to the environment.
4. Land Wastage
The land is used for cultivating crops or raising livestock. Aggressive cultivation and the use of chemicals for growing crops on a large scale adversely affect land quality.
5. Economic Loss
Food waste, simply put, leads to money going down the drain. After all the resources put into use, throwing out food causes economic loss as well.
Business Ideas that could reduce Food Waste
Now that you’re aware of the problems that food waste can cause, here are some hot new business ideas that will help you solve these problems. These unique business ideas are for earning profits and doing your bit to save the environment and receive goodwill and recognition.
1. Vermicompost Farm
A worm farm, also known as vermiculture, processes organic waste. A commercial farm will be able to process it on an even larger scale. You can tie up with neighbouring restaurants, households, and schools, and collect waste to be processed at your farm. The period taken to process this organic waste is generally sixty to ninety days. The compost can be further sold for future use.
2. Organic Fertiliser
Taking cue from the idea above, you could use the food waste and transform it into commercial fertilisers. Since no chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, these fertilisers will be organic and not harmful to the soil. You won’t just be reducing food waste, but also save the land from degradation. Starting an organic fertiliser business is a good food waste business.
3. Food Waste Management Blog
If you can’t start a new venture, you can still do your bit with lesser capital. Start a food waste management blog to educate people on the more extensive issue at hand, and the resulting problems. You can also show them how to reduce food waste by small changes in lifestyle or donating to an organisation that provides meals for the hungry.
4. Food Waste Restaurant
You can upcycle food waste by using them to prepare meals and selling them at a low cost. This way, you’re not just reducing food waste, but also feeding the hungry. You can source ingredients from supermarkets or grocery centres that throw out vegetables and fruits just because they don’t look good. Or they may have certain food items in excess, which will rot if they don’t sell them. It is, perhaps, one of the most innovative and best businesses to start at this time.
5. Food Bank
If you don’t have the skills or time to start a restaurant, you can still do your bit. Start a food bank to distribute food to those who can’t afford it. Many restaurants and food places often throw out food that’s perfectly fine, but isn’t going to be consumed that day. Ask them to give you that food instead and feed those who can’t afford an expensive meal.
6. 3D Printing Food
The adoption of 3D printing technology is becoming more widespread now. You can use this technology to benefit the environment. If you have the capital and resources, start a 3D food printing business using food waste and turning it into edible food. It is undoubtedly one of the hot new business ideas that could uniquely reduce food waste.
7. Mobile App/Website for Surplus Food
A website or mobile application can let people in need know when restaurants have surplus food. You can also tie up with restaurants, sell this food at a discounted rate, or give it away for free. Your application or website would need to have information about the type of food, restaurant address, and cost of the food, if any.
8. Nutrition Bars from Spent Grain
Spent grain is the leftover grain from the beer-making process. It’s often discarded, but still has value. You can use this grain to make nutrition bars. Mix the grain with some nuts and dry fruits, and fortify them with nutrients. Given the rising awareness of sustainability in production, you can use the marketing resources of the brewery to promote your product. It is surely one of the innovative ways to reduce food waste.
9. Grocery Store with Imperfect Foods
Supermarkets and grocery stores usually throw out vegetables and fruits that don’t meet their visual standards. These foods don’t necessarily have any loss in taste or nutritional value. You can promote the sale of these blemished foods, and encourage people not to stray away from purchasing them. You can sell these vegetables and fruits at discounted prices, so more people can afford them.
10. Jam making
If you are interested in making jams, you can use blemished fruits as your ingredient. Other than jams, you can also use them to make spreads, chutneys, or salad dressings. You can store all these products for an extended period. By transforming damaged fruits into jams, sauces, spreads and chutneys, you can effectively increase their shelf life.
The ideas listed above are only a few of the many innovations that can happen if initiatives are taken. You can take some inspiration from the internet on how to reduce food waste and chip in to solve one of the world’s biggest crises today.
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Q. Are these the only ways of reducing food waste?
Ans. The ideas listed here are only a few. Thanks to technology, there’s a lot of scope to innovate or invent new ways to reduce food waste and recycle it. If doing your bit for the Earth is your calling, deep dive into researching more ideas through which you can help.
Q. Is there any other small business idea I can start?
Ans. Yes, There are many ways, small and big, through which you can play your part. You could simply become a collector of food waste for recycling companies, start a meal or soup kitchen, organise flash sales of leftover food or make juices from surplus fruits.
Q. How can I reduce food waste at home?
Ans. If starting a business is too much for you at the moment, you can still get involved by reducing food waste at home. Restrain yourself from purchasing beyond your consumption level, use products after the ‘use by’ date if they’re in good condition, use leftovers to make new dishes and use scraps to make broths.
Q. Can I use leftover food to start a bakery?
Ans. Yes, You can use spent grain from breweries and surplus flour, sugar, butter, fruits to make cakes, bread, and more. You could even use jams made from blemished fruits in your preparations. Starting a bakery that uses ingredients that you would otherwise throw out is a unique business idea.