In homes around the world, families are experiencing a tale of two dinner tables. Some are filled with food that will go to waste — a staggering 1.6bn tons a year, in fact, a third of all food produced on the planet. Meanwhile, 25 million people starve to death each year and another billion are undernourished. 

Despite well-intentioned parents urging their children to finish their plates, the problem is much bigger than picky eaters or poor planning. Instead, systemic inefficiencies result in food insecurity, billions in lost revenue and significant environmental damage. 

Yet, there hasn’t been a clear solution to how we can address this growing disparity. Until now.

Alexander Piutti’s Berlin-based startup SPRK.global aims to create a world without unnecessary waste. It’s doing this by using AI to map out current and emerging patterns in the global food supply chain, helping distributors connect food across the globe sustainably.

The causes of food waste

The problem is complex. In Germany alone, some 11m tons of food are wasted every year. Agricultural products spoil due to pests or incorrect storage. Often, food is thrown out when there are not enough buyers on the market. It can be damaged in transport or discarded when there is an oversupply in stores. Commercial consumers like restaurants and caterers often have a difficult time calculating their demand — and yes, individual families play a role as well. 

The solution: A new and AI-driven circular economy

So how do we make sure that more food gets to the places where it is really needed when it is needed? Piutti believes SPRK.global can answer that question by becoming a partner to the food industry and bringing all the players in the supply chain together in the name of sustainability. 

SPRK.global’s focus is on state-of-the-art AI technology that understands and anticipates patterns, enabling rapid redistribution of excess supply. In other words, matching the companies with too much food to those with too little — helping global producers and distributors to create a supply chain free of food waste. 

It’s an idea that recently earned this team an award in the category ’Transportation & Smart Cities’ at the 2020 Extreme Tech Challenge, the world’s largest startup competition for companies tackling global challenges. 

The next wave of transformation in the food industry

Solving this problem would save money, support farmers, help reduce our carbon footprint, and most of all, help close the divide between a world of waste and a world of want — and Piutti offers an inspiring vision of how to get there in his interview with Samsung’s series ‘The Next Wave’

His aim is ambitious, but his innovative and sustainable business model is practical and achievable. Along with Young Sohn, Samsung’s president and chief strategy officer, he discusses new ways breakthrough technologies can reduce waste and CO2 emissions while making more food available to everyone around the world — because no table should be bare.

 

Want to learn more about the startup fighting to solve the global food problem? Discover how SPRK.global is using its technology and platform to drive change while fixing the circular economy here.

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The UN World Food Programme’s Innovation Accelerator in Munich is working on lots of things in that exact area…