Supported by Agricultural Adaptation Council funding, the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) partnered and engaged with Value Chain Management International (VCMI) to undertake a project to reduce food loss and waste (FLW) along the value chain: grower, packer, shipper, wholesaler, distributor, retail or foodservice, and ultimately the consumer. The purpose of the project was to raise industry awareness and create the skills required to measurably reduce FLW in Ontario’s wider horticultural industry and markets.
These outcomes were achieved by working with chosen industry leaders/OPMA members to create materials and daily management tools, which will be shared with industry through a series of eight workshops, media articles, industry newsletters, and webinars.
Case Study: EarthFresh Foods
As part of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association’s (OPMA) food waste reduction initiative, Value Chain Management International (VCMI) worked with EarthFresh Foods and growers to identify ways to reduce waste by increasing the quality and value of table potatoes, from field to consumer. The case study found that a 29 per cent increase in pack-out rate* equates to a 74 per cent increase in grower margin. On a 50,000 lb load of potatoes, this amounts to a $6,000 increase in grower returns. (Released in July 2017.)
Case Study: The Apple Factory
This case study describes process improvements for The Apple Factory, an independent grocery store located in Brampton, Ontario. This store’s popularity stems from engaging consumers with an entertaining and satisfying shopping experience. The report shows how tracking shrink enables retailers to improve their merchandizing mechanics, potentially leading to increased sales and less need to discount products. In this instance, it was identified that by using straightforward process improvement tools and publicly available online software, The Apple Factory is able to target a $32,000 reduction in annual shrink, plus associated costs, while simultaneously improving merchandizing arrangements and sales.
Case Study: Gwillimdale Farms
This case study describes how VCMI worked with Gwillimdale Farms (gwillimdalefarms.com) – a producer/packer – to implement effective daily management systems for their carrot, beet, parsnip, onion and potato packing lines. GF has two locations; its primary location includes 1,000 acres of vegetable production in the outskirts of Holland Marsh.
The process began with VCMI (on behalf of OPMA) conducting a food waste reduction workshop at Gwillimdale Farm’s facility to identify the root causes of the challenges impacting their business operations. This led to VCMI spending time at the facility to determine how effectively their equipment was operating, observe how packing lines and packing materials were being managed, and identify opportunities to improve packing line performance.
Case Study: Distributor
VCMI worked with a main line distributor to augment their ongoing successful food waste reduction efforts. The project is enabling the distributor to work closely with staff, customers and vendors to establish daily management systems to effectively implement continual improvement plans in produce, other food categories, and potentially their non-food business. A key finding from the study: utilizing straightforward process improvement tools potentially results in $1.2 million plus in savings, while simultaneously increasing sales.
Workshops for the Ontario Produce Industry
Industry leaders had access to a series of one-day workshops in how to identify and address the root causes of FLW, resulting in opportunities to improve the competitiveness of Ontario’s fresh produce industry by implementing sustainable programs for reducing FLW along the entire value chain. Materials developed for the workshops and training will be shared with the produce industry and other non-produce food industries.
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This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.