Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Spoilage Solved! - Passive Climate Controlled Transport

Climate Controlled Transportation

Food is Wasted

There are no shortage of articles about food waste. A New York Times article has a lot of articles and studies:

A study in Tompkins County, N.Y., showed that 40 percent of food waste occurred in the home. Another study, by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, found that 93 percent of respondents acknowledged buying foods they never used.

A 1980 study in the UK titled Household food wastage in Britain, by R.W. Wenlock et al. (full article here) states (P.54):
Since prewar studies (Cathcart & Murray, 1939) showed that I-3% of food was wasted in the home in Britain, there has been little work on this aspect of food loss. Some household studies were attempted in the United States (Adelson et al. 1961 ; Adelson et al. 1963) which indicated that between 7 and 10% of domestic food (in energy terms) was thrown away, given to pets, or otherwise used for non-food purposes. Fats and oils accounted for between 70 and 80 % of this loss.

Wenlock et al. in their study noted a seasonal variance in food waste
When assessed against the expected usage of food in the home, wastage accounted on average for 6.5 % of the energy intake in summer and 5.4 % in winter

On a side note, you can tell the paper was written in 1980 because of the language (bold added) (P. 54):
It was also noted that studies of this kind are very difficult because the intensive questioning which is necessary and the period of time involved result in poor co-operation by the housewives. Another, non- reactive, approach was therefore tried in Tucson, Arizona, where the waste food in garbage cans was studied (Harrison et al. 1975). This showed that on average approximately 10% by weight of the food which entered the home (estimated from discarded food wrappers) was wasted.
A newer study titled "Food waste within food supply chains: quantiifcation and potential for change to 2050" by Parfitt et al. has more recent information, and shows much higher numbers in more recent times (perhaps because of more fresh fruits and vegetables being purchased rather than canned or preserved foods?).
Jones et al. (T. Jones, A. Bockhorst, B. McKee & A. Ndiaye 2003, unpublished data) estimated that American households discarded 211 kg of food waste per year, not including food to drain, into home composting or feed to pets. The amount of food loss at the household level was estimated to be 14 per cent (T. Jones, A. Bockhorst, B. McKee & A. Ndiaye 2003, unpublished data), costing a family of four at least $589.76 annually (Jones 2004).
If you want to look at pictures of food wasted, or post some of your own! Check this blog out.

Sometimes it gets hot in a car, hot enough to bake cookies!

You park your car in front of the grocery store, the heat slowly builds in it. After you come out, you put your fresh groceries, including dairy, into a scorching hot car. Does this seem like a best practice?

Recently a Toronto police officer successfully baked cookies in a parked car. While you may think it's only a short trip from the store to home, is it 10 minutes? Is it 20 minutes if some of the lights are busy or you're stuck in traffic? Would you ever take your groceries out of the fridge and sit them on the counter that long? If not, would you put them in the oven that long? Isn't that what basically happens when you put them into a hot trunk?


Reduce seasonal food spoilage - try a passive climate control food transport system

Food spoilage and waste occur for a multitude of non-optimal reasons, but by using a cooler, preferably with an icepack or two in it, you can gain some time for nominal trouble. Bringing a cooler will also save you any store bag charges, and you may find packing your groceries into a rigid container much easier than bagging. I bring mine directly into the store, and load it at the checkout.

A cooler also gives you more flexibility. What if there's a better store further away from your home? What if you want to pickup groceries near your workplace, or somewhere convenient midway through your 45 minute commute home? If this opens up more convenient shopping options, maybe you can shop more frequently, for smaller quantities and have even less waste!

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