3 innovative solutions to food waste: #SinDesperdicioMéxico

Out of a group of 154 entrepreneurs, three projects resulted the winners of the #SinDesperdicioMéxico (#ZeroWasteMexico) innovation contest to promote initiatives that help solve the loss of 20.4 million tons of food in the country. 

Adapting to the voluntary quarantine resulted from the contingency caused by COVID-19, the #SinDesperdicioMéxico contest came to an end with an online event in which 12 finalists pitched their proposals. We promote this platform (#SinDesperdicio) together with the Inter-American Development Bank, OXXO, Tecnológico de Monterrey, The Global Food Banking Network and other partners 

Organizations from Argentina, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Paraguay, El Salvador, and Mexico came together to propose solutions to a problem that causes the loss or waste of approximately 34% of all food produced in Mexico. Among the initiatives, we found bets on artificial intelligence, online markets, technology applied to increase the useful life of food and avoid organic waste, among others. 

In this virtual meeting, the entrepreneurs presented their business cases to a jury of specialists integrated by our director, Lorena Guillé-Laris; Tomás Bermúdez, IDB Representative in Mexico; Lina Pohl Alfaro, FAO Representative in Mexico; María Teresa García Plata, General Director of the Network of Food Banks of Mexico; Josué Delgado, General Director of INC Mty; José Manuel Ramírez Rangel, VP of Bimbo Ventures; Inti Pérez, Manager of Creation of Shared Value of Nestlé México and Alejandra del Ángel, Value Chain Manager of Latin America DOW. 

Save Fruit took home the first place, with a grant of US $15,000. This organization offers technologies that can be used to extend the useful life of the fruits after they are harvested. A single application of the product benefits all participants within the fruit production chain, including the unit for storage, transport, distribution, marketing and domestic consumption. 

In second place, with a grant of US $ 10,000.00, was Mi Fruta, Mi Pueblo (My Fruit, My Town), a solution that consists of generating trade relations of mandarin, orange, mango, papaya, peanuts and guavas produced in vulnerable communities in Oaxaca to reduce losses and food waste in the region, taking advantage of the already existing resources and promoting the economic development of the community.  

An honorable mention was awarded to Preemar for their development called Pro-viden, a system that monitors water quality in real time. This solution helps aquaculturists maintain a disease-free environment and prevent production loss by allowing the producers to access the information at any time and receive alerts to take action whenever it is required in order to protect the fish. 

In addition to the prizes, the winning proposals and the honorable mention will get access to an incubation and pre-acceleration program, to continue promoting the development of their innovations. Information on these and other proposals is available on the website www.sindesperdicio.net   

How much food is wasted in Latin America? 

Each year, around 220 million tons of food are lost in Latin America and the Caribbean, about 12% of production, according to the FAO’s State of Food and Agriculture 2019 report. 

Food loss and waste make an impact on economic, nutritional and environmental factors. The FAO estimates that, annually, food loss generates 3,300 million tons of CO2, to which must be added the wear and tear of the soils, the thousands of cubic meters of water that are wasted on food that no one eats, and the improper handling of livestock. Looking to address this problem, the #SinDesperdicio platform was created as a call from and to various organizations committed to reducing food loss and waste in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

In 2019 we launched the # SinDesperdicioMéxico contestorganized in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and a group of partners in different areas of the food industry: IBM, Nestlé, The Coca Cola Company, Grupo Bimbo, OXXO, The Dow Chemical Company, FAO, the Consumer Goods Forum, The Global FoodBanking Network and the World Resources Institute; The initiative also had the support of the Mexican Food Bank Network (BAMX), Tecnológico de Monterrey and Socialab México.