Tuesday April 21, 2020 |Notes

An opportunity to redistribute food efficiently

In recent weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, 2.7 million gallons of milk are being purposefully disposed each day, while there are record lines for subsidized and free meal programs.

There's a clear problem with the food distribution system in our country right now. In recent posts, I've written about the problems with grocery delivery service and yesterday spent time listening to a WSJ podcast, as well as reading a NYTimes article on the subject.

Large scale farms are setup to sell via their distributor and wholesalers, which in turn have contracts to sell to various restaurants, event venues, grocery stores, cafeterias, etc. Everything other than grocery has seen demand drastically drop and, in many cases, completely evaporate.

It's not easy to redirect the food to other areas. Much of the food produced for events and restaurants differs from what sells in grocery stores, i.e. organic lettuce in stores, non-organic in restaurants. Grocers can't necessarily take more groceries either. With freshness a key factor in food, much of the food ends up being completely wasted.

Farming has a long timeline, and food wastage is likely to have longer-term repercussions. If famers can't sell food know, they can't afford to pick and plant new crops.

There's a clear problem of inefficiency when hungry people cannot get food, while eggs, milk and vegetables are dumped each day. This looks like a great opportunity for digital commerce to help rapidly redistribute food in a more efficient manner. If you know of any companies or projects working on this project, let us know so we can highlight them in a future post.

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