Bold Business Logo

Finding Food Waste Solutions Through Demand-Forecasting Technology

Wasting food is never a good thing. Given resource scarcity, efficient operations and logistics are important processes that help ensure a company best achieves its potential. Likewise, accurate inventory management and demand forecasting invite optimal revenues and profits. And increasingly, numerous industries are turning to technology solutions to improve these specific aspects of the operation. Based on recent developments, it now appears that the food industry might be doing the same.

(Read our bold story on Disruptive Technology Initiatives That Decrease Food Waste.)

For some time now, experts have recognized that there has been a need for food waste solutions. Overall estimates suggest that food waste reaches over 1.6 billion tons annually. The cost of this waste exceeds $1.2 trillion globally. With advances in cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence, however, new opportunities are emerging. Food waste solutions that employ these technologies for better demand forecasting are proving to be effective. And with several new companies offering new platforms, everyone throughout the food supply chain stands to benefit.

demand forecasting, laura abshire quoted
The importance of demand forecasting can’t be undermined.

Wanted: Food Waste Solutions…Fast!

The figures cited above highlight the magnitude of the problem when it comes to the food industry. But for individual companies, the need for food waste solutions strike closer to home. Because many food items are perishable items, over-supply and over-production can result in tremendous costs related to waste. Not only does the lost product result in direct costs, but it similarly drives up expenses indirectly. Fuel and transit costs are routinely experienced related to the transport and delivery of wasted food. And packaging costs are also noteworthy when food goes bad. Without effective ways to measure consumer demand (demand forecasting), these companies suffer greatly from waste from food products.

Over-production and over-supply of food items are not the only problems that require food waste solutions. At the same time, under-supply issues related to poor demand forecasting also pose problems for those in the food industry. Statistically, when consumers are unable to locate a product, 62% will choose a substitute while 23% go to a competitor. Unfortunately, this happens all too often with “stock-outs” occurring about 7% of the time. The estimate of these costs alone pointed to $6 billion a year in lost sales revenues. Thus, there is a need for food waste solutions and more accurate food supply strategies. And this is where better demand forecasting and related technologies come into play. Learn how Tech Transforms Food Industry.

food waste solutions, chris williamson quoted
Too much or too little of anything is bad–and yes, especially where food is concerned.

Bold Businesses Offering New Demand Forecasting Solutions

Several companies are introducing food waste solutions today that have the potential to revolutionize the food industry. For example, NexTec Group offers a variety of demand forecasting technologies through ERP, CRM, and Cloud-based products. With over 25 years in the food industry, they offer right-fit solutions to clients. LeanPath is another innovative company focusing on food waste solutions. Since 2004, LeanPath has helped kitchens globally through data-collection tools, cloud-based analytics, and expert coaching through waste-tracking methods. And a number of companies serve the agricultural sector in facilitating accurate demand forecasting and crop production.

These companies have certainly offered innovations in terms of food waste solutions. However, newer startups are looking to do more. Specifically, Crisp recently launched a comprehensive platform that can all food supply chain players can use. Its ERP software provides a more comprehensive demand forecasting strategy for food waste solutions. Crisp’s platform uses historical data as well as demand drivers to better predict food production and supply needs. These demand drivers include things like seasonality, price sensitivity, holidays, competition, marketing campaigns, and even weather. And its platform is self-learning, which means better demand forecasting the longer its clients utilize the technology. For retailers, suppliers, and distributions in the food industry, Crisp’s platform looks to be quite promising.

food waste solutions, are traasdahl quoted
Creating food waste solutions require input from food businesses.

Streamlining the Entire Food Supply Chain

In terms of food waste solutions and demand forecasting, today’s innovations offer a more comprehensive approach. Notably, unlike other industries, the food sector enjoys a higher level of interdependence among various players. This means there are fewer competitive hurdles to cross in data-sharing among various stakeholders throughout the supply chain. As companies like Crisp has noted, this is allowing richer insights to be gained in demand forecasting. And ultimately, this will accelerate the opportunities to better align food production and supply with consumer needs.

Based on cost estimates, every 1% increase in improved demand forecasting results in a 2% reduction in cost. This naturally provides strong financial incentives for companies in the food supply chain to adopt disruptive technologies.

In addition, these same technologies also have the ability to enhance scheduling and customer service areas. This offers additional benefits that can certainly help the bottom line. But most importantly, food waste solutions such as these address major societal problems related to food scarcity and effective resource utilization. If companies can adopt better demand forecasting techniques, then opportunities to help global food shortages can be realized. And this is certainly a mission any bold business should embrace, especially when doing so is a clear win-win scenario.

Are Nanoparticles the Solution to Prevent Heart Attacks?

The science of nanotechnology has revolutionized a number of fields, but the greatest revolution may have to do with the heart. Nanoparticles are being explored as a means to improve several conditions ranging from cancer to pain, and most recently, they are being evaluated for their role in the prevention of heart attacks. Given these advances, it’s worth to take a more in-depth look at this new biomedical therapy approach and the impact it might have.

READ MORE: Nanotechnology Applications Are Shaping A Better Future

Before describing the latest research related to this biomedical therapy, we must understand the basics of nanoparticles. Advances in technology have offered new techniques that can create sub-micron particles. These particles can then offer advantages due to their size and their ability to access parts of our bodies that have been initially difficult to reach. Likewise, these same nanoparticles have the potential to reduce unwanted side effects while enhancing treatment effectiveness. These are the benefits that have many researchers and businesses exploring their potential as a revolutionary biomedical therapy.

photo quote of Bryan Smith in relation to the latest biomedical therapy news that is nanoparticles
The advancements in the use of nanoparticles are noteworthy, indeed!

A “Pac-Man” Biomedical Therapy for Plaque

The latest medical research involving nanoparticles comes out of a collaboration between Michigan State University and Stanford University. Researchers developed nanoparticles that could be introduced into the human body. Once inside, these nanoparticles selectively seek out specific immune cells called macrophages. And in turn, they get inside these cells, causing them to enhance their capacity to dissolve atherosclerotic plaque. Ultimately, that results in these macrophages removing a sizable amount of plaque from the arteries. Naturally, this case reduces the risk for heart attacks subsequently as the plaque is reduced and stabilized.

The precise mechanism by which these nanoparticles serve as a biomedical therapy is fascinating. Each of the nanoparticles contains “nano-tubes” that contain a drug chemical. This chemical, known as the SHP1 inhibitor, is released into the macrophages once the nanoparticles come in contact with these cells. SHP1 inhibitor then shuts down an intercellular pathway inside the macrophage that typically halts its metabolism of plaque. Macrophages then resume their plaque-eating activity, which reduces arterial blockages over time. What is most striking about this approach is its capacity to work from inside the cell. As a biomedical therapy, this detail has excellent potential for managing a host of other medical conditions.

photo quote of Bryan Smith concerning the latest biomedical therapy news that is nanoparticles
The precise mechanism by which these nanoparticles serve as a biomedical therapy is fascinating.

Nanoparticles Can Also Serve as Decoys

In addition to the research described above, nanoparticles are being utilized in other ways as a biomedical therapy. At Northwestern University, researchers recently injected nanoparticles into the bloodstream of patients who had recently suffered a traumatic brain injury. These tiny particles served as “decoys” for circulating immune cells responding to the brain injury. As a result, the inflammation that would generally occur after the injury was reduced. Since many of the circulating immune cells, called monocytes, were tricked into attacking the nanoparticles, less brain swelling occurred. This development has notable benefits in patients who suffer a variety of injuries where excessive inflammation is an issue.

READ MORE: Using Xenon Gas Therapy to Prevent Brain Injury—Mallinckrodt and NPXe Limited Starting Patient Trials

photo quote of Sripadh Sharma in relation to the latest biomedical therapy news that is nanoparticles
Looking at where the progress in nanoparticles stands, we can assume that more advancements are on the way!

Other Biomedical Therapy Approaches Using Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are being used as a biomedical therapy technique in other instances as well. Many companies are now exploring their use as a drug-delivery agent. Because drugs provided as nanoparticles are much smaller, they can be used in conditions where drug administration may be difficult. In addition, many drugs must be given in large dosages and/or have harmful side effects. Nanoparticles can reduce the dose required in many instances and, thus, minimize side effects as well. The following are a few companies involved in this type of biomedical therapy services.

READ MORE: Organic Robots Are Here – Are We Ready for Them?

  • iCeutica – This Australian-based company has raised over $5.1 million in funding in efforts to develop an encapsulated nanoparticle therapy. Its SoluMatrix Fine Particle Technology allows drug delivery that is 10 to 200 times smaller in size. This detail allows for increased bioavailability, the onset of action, lower doses and fewer side effects. To date, this biomedical therapy has been evaluated for pain, inflammation, cancer and respiratory conditions.
  • Zylo Therapeutics – Based in South Carolina, this business has raised over $3.5 million in funding. Its primary product involves using nanoparticles as a sustained-release topical drug delivery system. With nitrous oxide, the company’s Z-pods are being used for pain relief, neurogenic erectile dysfunction and dermatologic conditions. The company has even received an NIH grant to explore this biomedical therapy further.
  • Cour Pharmaceuticals – With over half a million in funding, this American startup explores nanoparticles as therapies to manage immune conditions. Using research that initially started at Northwestern University, the startup has enabled nanoparticles to modulate the immune response by targeting specific proteins. To date, this biomedical therapy approach has been explored in Celiac Disease and other select autoimmune conditions.
  • Meda Biotech – Based in India, this startup is using nanoparticles to create hybrid drug delivery systems. In essence, these hybrid treatments deliver more than one drug when treating a condition. Leveraging nanoparticles’ advantages in tissue targeting, improved efficiency, and lower toxicities, these treatments offer clear benefits. The company is currently exploring this case as an effective biomedical therapy for cancer, pain, inflammation, gastrointestinal disease and vascular problems.

cartoon of nanoparticles surrounding a human heart as they do their biomedical therapy job of preventing a heart attack
If the biomedical therapy approach using nanoparticles key to preventing heart attacks, what does that mean in the long run?

Size Does Matter —But Not the Way You Think!

The lure of nanoparticles as a biomedical therapy specifically relates to a few key characteristics. Indeed, the size of these submicron particles offers a tremendous advantage. But, at the same time, nanoparticles can be more specific and precise in their effects. Whether the mechanism of action is intercellular or extracellular, these offer notable benefits in the treatment of a variety of conditions. As companies progressively discover how to harness the power of this innovative approach, tremendous advances in medicine are certainly likely.