Food for thought: Faster cooling of produce and more robust cooling systems!
March 9, 2016

Food for thought: Faster cooling of produce and more robust cooling systems!

Farming uses 38% of the ice-free land on earth and 70% of the fresh water. As a consequence it is responsible for 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and about one-third of all food produced is either lost before it gets to the shops or is wasted once it has been purchased. Now the population is 7.3 billion and it is expected to be 9.5 billion by 2050. What’s more, all the extra 2.2 billion people will live in cities. Feeding a city is much more complex than subsistence farming and it requires a sophisticated logistics chain. Two-thirds of food loss and waste occurs before the produce reaches the point of sale and only one-third happens once it is out of the custody of the controlled cold chain.

John Mandyck and Eric Schultz (in book “Food Foolish—The Hidden Connection Between Food Waste, Hunger and Climate Change,”) show that up to 50% of the food grown and harvested in developing regions, where there is not an effective temperature controlled distribution network, does not make it to market. By introducing faster cooling of produce and more robust cooling systems, which give a reliable service, this level of waste could be reduced, in principle, to that of the developed economies; less than 2%. In addition to reduced climate impact, the result would be higher nutrition levels for those who need them most, economic growth, food price stability and more effective use of fresh water and other resources. As Mandyck and Schultz conclude, “the low hanging fruit for climate protection is literally rotting.” Now that is food for thought.

Excerpt from the article “Food, Glorious Food” by Andy Pearson published at the ASHRAE Journal February 2016.