Food waste

Food waste

Our raw materials are a valuable resource. A refined approach is now monitoring how well we use them.

Capturing and validating food waste data
At Arla Foods Ingredients, we continue our efforts to make the best possible use of our raw materials. Our processes and production side streams are the subject of ongoing research and development for this purpose.

Nevertheless, we are not yet at the stage where all food waste can be avoided. In 2021, we established our food waste workstream and started work on a new platform for monitoring food waste and capturing the necessary data to track our performance. The Arla group goal is to reduce food waste at processing level by 50% from 2015 to 2030.

We have continued this work through 2022, in collaboration with our parent company. One of our key focus areas is data validation. Some of our product waste, for example, can be measured in the chemical oxygen demand (COD) value of wastewater. For this reason, we regularly monitor how much COD stems from lost whey and milk components and how much from cleaning agents.

KPIs for powder waste
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are now in place for powder waste. At Danmark Protein, for example, our KPI for 2022 was to limit such waste to maximum 0.32% of our total finished products – a reduction on our 2021 KPI of 0.35%. This KPI has proven hard to achieve. One explanation is the identification of additional waste streams that were not included in our 2021 figures.

By the end of the year, food waste volumes were fully mapped. The next step in 2023 is to identify the precise source of these waste streams. This is necessary data to monitor waste generation through our value chain and inform decision-making about how to improve.

Programming quick win
Sharp-eyed operators at Danmark Protein have saved around 16 tons of whey protein isolate (WPI) a year from going out with the wastewater. After remnants of WPI were spotted in the drain, it was found that the system was failing to rinse the last part of a product batch into the tank. A similar observation was made on another line producing our MFGM ingredient, where four tons of product were saved. In both cases, the cause of the problem turned out to be an easily-corrected programming error.

The discoveries have followed last year’s introduction of a line-centric organisation, which encourages all colleagues to keep an eye out for improvement opportunities.


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