Addressing Food Waste: Strategies for Wholesale Distributors to Reduce Environmental Impact

As of 2024, environmental concerns are centre stage in global discussions, which means industries across the board are reevaluating their practices to minimize their ecological footprint. The wholesale distribution sector, in particular, plays a crucial role in the food supply chain, and its impact on food waste reduction cannot be overstated. At CJR Wholesale, we recognize the significance of our role in this regard and are committed to implementing strategies that not only benefit our business but also contribute to a more sustainable future.

Optimizing Inventory Management Using Technology

One of the primary contributors to food waste in wholesale distribution is excess inventory. At CJR Wholesale, we have extensive inventory management systems that enable us to accurately forecast demand, thereby minimizing overstocking and ensuring that perishable items are sold long before their expiration dates. By embracing technology, we have revolutionized the way we do business. From advanced tracking systems that monitor product freshness to automated ordering platforms that streamline procurement processes, investing in innovative solutions enables us to operate more efficiently while minimizing waste.

Our order management system was created and managed all in-house and is completely paperless. This means that our high-tech information technology is not only customizable and flexible for manufacturers to work with us, but it is also better for the environment! Creating the best-case scenario for both our customers and our planet.

Collaboration with Suppliers

Building strong relationships with our suppliers helps reduce waste throughout the supply chain. By engaging in open communication and working closely with producers, we can coordinate orders more effectively, adjust quantities based on demand fluctuations, and even explore options for repurposing surplus produce. We understand that our impact extends beyond our operations to encompass the practices of our suppliers. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have established criteria for selecting and partnering with suppliers who share our values and demonstrate a commitment to ethical and environmentally responsible practices.

Educating Others

It’s important for us to foster a culture of sustainability for our customers. Through educational initiatives and informative resources, we are constantly aiming to raise awareness about the environmental impact of food waste and encourage responsible consumption practices among retailers and consumers alike. This goes for our employees as well. We strive to empower our team member, showing them how to actively contribute to waste reduction initiatives and sustainable practices both within our organization and in their communities.

Implementing Sustainable Practices Throughout Our Business

Transitioning towards a circular economy model, where resources are reused, recycled, or repurposed, presents significant opportunities for waste reduction. At CJR Wholesale, we explore avenues for diverting surplus food from landfills, such as donating edible but unsellable items to food banks or partnering with composting facilities to recycle organic waste.

CJR Wholesale also uses a fleet of temperature-controlled trucks, which have a greater energy efficiency than set-temperature trucks. Being able to customize temperature depending on product need means we waste less energy than non-custom fleets. We also optimize our fleet vehicles for carrying full loads on our routes to reduce gas usage, have less energy loss, and reduce our impact on the environment.

Our warehouse are fully powered with solar panels to take CJR Wholesale completely off-grid use. Our solar panels not only power our entire warehouse, but they also give back to the grid, with a total energy savings of 1.5 M kWh of electricity saved annually through the power of the sun.

Food Waste Audits

Conducting regular audits to identify areas of inefficiency and opportunities for improvement is integral to our sustainability efforts. By analyzing data on waste generation, disposal practices, and the root causes of inefficiencies, we can fine-tune our processes and implement targeted interventions to minimize waste at every stage of the supply chain.

Packaging Innovation

Packaging plays a significant role in preserving the freshness and quality of food products, but it also contributes to environmental waste. At CJR Wholesale, we are exploring sustainable packaging alternatives such as compostable materials, recyclable packaging, and lightweight designs that minimize material usage without compromising product integrity.

As a leading wholesale distributor, CJR Wholesale is dedicated to addressing the challenges of food waste and sustainability through proactive measures and innovative solutions. By optimizing inventory management, fostering collaboration with suppliers, embracing technology, educating customers, and implementing the best practices, we strive to minimize our environmental impact while ensuring the long-term sustainability of our business and the communities we serve. Together, we can make a meaningful difference in combating food waste and building a more resilient and responsible food system for future generations.

Related Content

Challenges for the Little Guys

Big corporations and fast-food chains are a huge player in the culinary world, so much as that small food businesses have to stand as beacons of authenticity, community, and local innovation. Cozy neighbourhood bakeries, family-owned cafes.  These enterprises...

Tips & Insights

Win the Big Game with CJR Wholesale

The Big Game isn't just a football game; it's a cultural phenomenon that brings people together for a day of excitement, camaraderie, and, of course, delicious food. As a grocer, preparing for the football season l is an opportunity to score big with your customers....

Want to stay in the loop for industry updates and CJR content? 

Sign up to receive free updates and tips.