Foodbank Teams with Leading Grocery Retailers to Speed Food Relief Using Quality Control Technology
By Ilango Surendran
January 15, 2021
During the pandemic, the delivery of thousands of cases of food to needy families has been streamlined using quality management technology, extending its useful shelf life and reducing waste. iFoodDS and Woolworths were recognized as a Tech Innovation Award finalist for this work by PMA Australia-New Zealand.
2020 has been a challenging year. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted people’s lives and businesses in many ways. The agriculture industry and food supply chains worldwide were no exception. Existing issues like food affordability were amplified, while people who were already struggling with food security became even more vulnerable.
But, in times of need, helping hands rise to the occasion. Foodbank, the largest provider of vital food and groceries to food relief charities throughout Australia, stepped up to the challenges of 2020. As listed in their Hunger Report 2020, Foodbank distributes its food and groceries to over 2,400 charities nationally, the majority of whom rank Foodbank as their organization’s most important source of food.
Through the collaboration of Foodbank and the entire Australian food supply chain, Foodbank receives donated “items out of specification, close to expiry, or excess to requirements, as well as products that are in high demand by charities and emergency services”. During the pandemic, Foodbank has helped to ensure that a variety of healthy, convenient, culturally appropriate foods are consistently available, including fresh produce.
HarvestMark, now part of iFoodDS, has collaborated with retailers and Foodbank for years, and recently joined efforts with Foodbank towards helping those in need. Through the Disposition feature in the iFoodDS Quality Insights solution, Foodbank was able to significantly increase volumes of food relief across diverse communities in Australia.
The iFoodDS Quality Management solution makes it easy for retail distribution centers and suppliers to collaborate to donate products to Foodbank. The technology speeds up the donation process, resulting in extended shelf life, reduced operational costs for suppliers and Foodbank, and increased donations.
Prior to using the Disposition feature in iFoodDS’ Quality Management Solution, rejected products would often sit in the distribution center for days while donations were arranged between the retailer, supplier, and Foodbank via emails and phone calls. The cumbersome process delayed the delivery of donations to Foodbank and added transport costs when products were moved from the retailer, back to the supplier and on to Foodbank.
Now, when suppliers are notified that their product was rejected by the retailer, they can efficiently start the donation through the iFoodDS Quality Management solution. The solution automatically notifies the retailer and Foodbank, facilitating timely pick-up of the donation with the appropriate resources, while averting unnecessary transport.
Since the pandemic began, iFoodDS has seen over 44,500 cases of produce donated by produce suppliers through a leading grocery retailer through December of 2020. Over 8,000 cases of produce have also been donated by the produce suppliers in the last four months through another grocery retailer that implemented the Disposition feature in the iFoodDS Quality solution.
Technology platforms such as digital food safety, quality control and traceability not only help streamline data and processes across the food supply chain, but also help address social issues like food waste reduction and food security. Solutions such as the iFoodDS Quality solution can help to:
- Reduce unnecessary waste of perfectly edible product
- Enable produce to be captured and repurposed much earlier in the shelf life
- Save additional food miles, transport, handling and environmental costs
- Provide additional fresh produce to people in need
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about iFoodDS food supply chain safety, traceability and quality solutions.
 Foodbank Hunger Report 2020