While food industry giants and software companies have played an important role in creating solutions for reducing food waste, local community members are proving to be just as critical in driving the movement forward.
Efforts to curb food waste in Europe, the UK and North America are on the rise, with new solutions emerging almost daily that encourage more sustainable practices on both consumer and corporate fronts. Yet the problem of food waste is not unique to these regions. Food waste brought on by poor storage infrastructure is a critical problem in Africa. In fact, The Rockfeller Foundation estimates that 50 percent of fruits and vegetables, 40 percent of roots and tubers and 20 percent of cereals are lost in the post-harvest stage or processes. In total, the amount of food currently being lost on the continent is enough to feed 300 million people.
An entrepreneur in Nigeria, where food waste costs the economy around $750 billion a year, has developed a technology that harnesses the power of light to extend the shelf life of food. Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu’s ColdHubs are modular, solar-powered walk-in cold rooms that operate on a pay-as-you-store subscription model. Featuring 120mm insulating cold panels and a solar panel roof connected to high capacity batteries, the system is capable of extending the shelf life of produce and other perishable foods from two day to about 21 days. This allows farmers to cut their losses by around 80 percent. The system uses only 1kW of energy and is capable of running for three days without sunlight.