“As much as people want to believe that you can be a sustainable company without completing the conservation assessments in your supply chain, that’s not true. We were measuring losses, but without having done these quantitative assessments, we never would have gone as deep as we did. It changed the way we see and talk about ‘waste’. And thanks to our implementation of the work, sustainability in 2023 is a pillar for our company. It’s a license to operate – it’s not a nice to have, it’s a must have.”
Deborah Wolman, VP of Sustainability & Revenue Management
Nature’s Touch Frozen Foods
Together with our partners at Second Harvest and Enviro-Stewards, we set out to prevent and reduce food loss and waste at Nature’s Touch’s production facilities in Abbotsford and Montreal, Canada as part of the Walmart Foundation funded Food Loss & Waste Implementation Program. We identified and helped Nature’s Touch implement 13 recommendations that decreased food waste throughout various stages of processing. We have highlighted three of the most impactful opportunities for Nature’s Touch below.
1 | Montreal | 15,587 kg/year in Fruit Savings
The Spillage Problem
A large amount of product was being lost during packaging in the fillers due to bags not being fully open or overfilling of bags. Our team helped Nature’s Touch recognize the importance of improved maintenance and mechanical fine-tuning of bag sensors and bag openers to reduce the amount of product that misses bagging – saving 15,587 kg/year, which is equivalent to 10,000 meals in terms of calories.
2 | Abbotsford | 49,493 kg/year in Blueberry Savings
The Falling Berry Problem
In the calibration drum machines, blueberries were often at risk of falling in between the cracks, or off the sides. Therefore, significant guarding has been put in place to stop this. Flaps have been installed to direct fruit into the totes below and prevent side losses, averting 49,493 kg/year from going to waste!
3 | Abbotsford | 66,817 kg/year in Fruit Savings
The Unguided Fruit Problem
We noticed that in the transfer from the conveyer belt to the elevator there were frozen fruit losses (mango and strawberries), so Nature’s Touch installed a guide on the floor to make sure all frozen fruit is pushed to the elevator. So far this has eliminated 100% of previous losses (66,817 kg/ year) – or 45,073 meals a year.
Financial | $824,100 per year
Environmental | 422 tonnes CO2e and 276,022 kg of food waste/year
Social | 195,000 meals*
*calculated based on calorie consumption
Nature’s Touch has implemented 13 recommendations that decreased food waste throughout various stages of processing. These included avoiding losses in conveyer transfers, installing guarding and sanitary catches under various machines or transfers, reducing gaps in the processing line, and many other machine-related improvements. Something as simple as welding a metal plate over a gap between two sections of the processing line saved $28,695 a year, 8,838 kg of blueberries a year, and only cost $1,500 to install. Thanks to the funding from the Walmart Foundation, these two facilities became ones that won’t allow food loss and waste (or blueberries) to fall through the cracks.