From Excess to Excellence: How Weighing Scales Can Help Tackle Food Waste in Manufacturing

Food waste is a major global issue, with 33% of all food produced globally lost or wasted every year. Waste occurs at every stage in the production of food and is a significant issue that plagues the manufacturing industry. Every year, billions of kilograms of food are wasted during the production process, and the environmental and economic consequences are severe. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the issue of food waste in the manufacturing process, its causes, and potential solutions. 

First, let us define what we mean by food waste. Food waste is any edible material that is discarded, whether it is during the production process or after it has been prepared for consumption. This includes everything from unused ingredients to finished products that never make it to market. 

In the manufacturing process, food waste can occur at several stages.  

Overproduction and Inefficiencies: How Food Waste Occurs in Manufacturing 

There are many reasons why food waste occurs in the manufacturing process. One major cause is overproduction. Manufacturing companies often produce more food than they can sell in order to ensure they have enough to meet demand. However, if demand is lower than anticipated, this can lead to excess inventory that eventually becomes waste.

Another cause of food waste in the manufacturing process is inefficiencies in the supply chain. This includes issues such as transportation delays, storage problems, and poor materials planning. For example, if raw materials are stored at the wrong temperature or for too long, they may spoil before they can be used. Similarly, if the manufacturing process is not optimised for efficiency, this can lead to longer processing times and increased waste. 

Finally, there are also regulatory factors that contribute to food waste in the manufacturing process. For example, food safety regulations require that companies discard any food that may be contaminated, even if it is still edible. This can result in enormous quantities of food being wasted unnecessarily. 

The Role of Weighing Scales in Reducing Food Waste in Manufacturing 

Accurate and reliable weighing scales can play a vital role in reducing food waste in the manufacturing process. By using scales that provide precise measurements, manufacturers can ensure that they are using the correct amount of ingredients in their recipes, reducing the risk of overproduction and minimising waste. This is particularly important for high-value ingredients or those with a short shelf life, where even small errors in measurement can have a significant impact on waste levels. 

In addition, using weighing scales can help manufacturers to monitor inventory levels more closely and adjust production accordingly. This can help to avoid overproduction and ensure that products are being manufactured at the right volume to meet demand. By reducing the amount of excess inventory, manufacturers can minimise the risk of waste due to spoilage or damage during storage. 

Furthermore, weighing scales can also help to improve the accuracy of quality control checks. By ensuring that finished products meet the correct weight specifications, manufacturers can reduce the likelihood of products being rejected due to quality issues, which can lead to waste. 

Software solutions such as the TraceWaste solution and Myrias can help identify troublesome pain points within a food production process by measuring wasted materials throughout the whole factory, allowing for decision makers to improve their business using empirical data. 

Reducing Waste, Saving Money and Creating New Revenue Streams 

By using the MWS TraceWaste software solution to monitor waste streams, a client of MWS identified a waste by-product as a potential valuable new stream of income and repurposed the material into a brand-new product that is now worth more per kilo than the original product. 

Another FMCG client of MWS has boosted their bottom-line results by improving their target weighing. Their new system-controlled production operates using AI to constantly monitor target weights and adjust accordingly. If an operative was giving too much away, the system would narrow the target band to bring the weighing back to within nominal targets.  

While this process is not entirely waste driven, without the solution from MWS the final customer was receiving more than they were paying for and this caused material planners within the FMCG to run short of ingredients. This caused a range of issues upstream for the business including stock management and shortages of final product. 

Food waste in the manufacturing process is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences, but having accurate, robust, and high-quality scales can be a valuable tool in helping to reduce waste. By providing precise measurements, monitoring inventory levels, and improving quality control, manufacturers can minimise waste and improve the sustainability of their operations. 

MWS has a range of solutions to support businesses wishing to improve their bottom line by reducing waste in production environment.