Underutilized Produce Ripe for Alternative Markets
World Wildlife Fund and the Food & Agribusiness Institute of Santa Clara University are pleased to present new research findings on post-harvest food utilization to a broad set of stakeholders. We will begin a dialogue to create a produce supply chain that fully utilizes all edible and recoverable produce grown. This approach will maximize the energy, water, and wildlife habitat that was sacrificed during production.
The current fresh produce production system was built to achieve the goal of delivering (cosmetically) perfect products to retail and food service outlets at ideal ripeness after traveling hundreds to thousands of miles undamaged and harvested before they are ripe. This system consistently fails to utilize the entire harvest. Players along the supply chain do not consider the value of product sold compared to product yielded to be a metric for success because operations are often still profitable and economically sustainable with upwards of 25% loss, based on our research. While this 25% may not be considered a significant impact to the bottom line, it represents a significant opportunity to help close the meal gap by delivering nutritious produce to over 40 million food insecure individuals in the US and millions more abroad. This conference has been structured to unpack the challenges with achieving 100% utilization of crops using a systems-thinking approach to identify realistic opportunities that can be implemented in the next 1-3 years.