Food Spoilage: The Impact On Your Business

Food Spoilage: The Impact On Your Business

Here’s a food spoilage true story. Over the recent holiday break, I went to my local grocery store (who shall remain nameless) on a Wednesday and purchased a clam shell of name brand strawberries. As usual, they looked fine when I bought them. The next morning, less than 24 hours later, I took them out of my refrigerator and they looked like what you see in the photo above. Mushy. Fuzzy. Inedible. That morning, I took them back to the store and they offered to exchange them. I went to the produce department and looked for another...Continue Reading...
Shelf-life Variability in Produce: The Five Causes

Shelf-life Variability in Produce: The Five Causes

Shelf-life variability is a significant problem for fresh produce but one that many in the industry are unaware. It’s easy to assume that all pallets harvested from the same field on the same day will have the same amount of freshness or shelf-life. Unfortunately, that’s simply not true. There’s a lot of variability. A LOT.  What are the five top causes of shelf-life variability of fresh produce? Why do some fruits and vegetables spoil before we expect them to? What can we do to manage shelf-life and reduce the variability and...Continue Reading...
Fresh Food Industry Trends 2019 – Our Predictions

Fresh Food Industry Trends 2019 – Our Predictions

What are key Fresh Food Industry Trends for 2019? Based on the current trajectory, what can we predict for the year ahead? If we thought the last two years in the fresh food industry were tumultuous, they may pale in comparison to 2019. Certainly, the last couple of months have been chaotic in terms of the stock market and various public policy initiatives and has led to talks of a recession, despite many healthy economic indicators. What does this mean for fresh food industry trends in 2019? Here are three trends or predictions...Continue Reading...
Zest Labs Offers Fresh Wishes for the New Year

Zest Labs Offers Fresh Wishes for the New Year

At Zest Labs, we consider ourselves fortunate to work in such an exciting industry and with such great people. As I meet with people in the agriculture industry, from growers to the produce managers at my local grocery store, I’m struck by their passion, dedication and humanity.  It’s inspiring. There are many significant challenges facing our industry, food waste, sustainability, new and dynamic competitive business models and changing demographics and buying preferences, to name a few. We’re excited to be working with talented...Continue Reading...
Solving the Problem of Fresh Food Waste

Solving the Problem of Fresh Food Waste

What’s So Bad About Wasting 10%? The fresh food industry is unique in many ways but perhaps not all of them are good. When it comes to fresh food waste, the fresh food industry has a problem. Let me provide an analogy. Consider the Auto Industry Have you ever taken a tour of an automobile manufacturing facility? I toured what was then a General Motors factory when I was a youth. (That factory now makes Teslas.) It was fascinating to watch the parts arrive from the floor and ceiling, coming together at just the right time to...Continue Reading...
Fresh Food Industry Trends from 2018

Fresh Food Industry Trends from 2018

The Best of Zest – 2018 In 2018, the Zest Labs Blog provided a timeline for what was topical in the fresh food supply chain industry. Google Analytics details which blogs most resonated with our readers. Our analysis reveals a few interesting fresh food industry trends in 2018. In the “Best of Zest” we offer you highlights from the year and some hints of things to look for in 2019. Fresh Food Industry Trend #1: Food Technology Is “So Hot Right Now” New food-related technologies, particularly blockchain for the fresh food supply...Continue Reading...
Romaine Lettuce Labeling – Zest Fresh Can Help

Romaine Lettuce Labeling – Zest Fresh Can Help

On November 27, the FDA recommended a voluntary romaine lettuce labeling program for suppliers of processed and bulk romaine grown throughout the United States. This is in response to the recent E. coli issues that led to the FDA’s November 20 directive to remove and destroy all romaine lettuce in the fresh food supply chain. The FDA is requesting that all romaine lettuce be labeled, whether in bulk, processed or mixed, with the harvest date and location information. This label should be visible on all packaged produce and included...Continue Reading...
It’s (Past) Time for Freshness Management

It’s (Past) Time for Freshness Management

We have a problem with fresh food shelf-life. How do we know this? America wastes 40 percent of its food, according to the National Resource Defense Council’s 2017 Wasted report. That’s like buying five bags of groceries, leaving the store and throwing two of them into the dumpster and driving away. The report goes on to state that 12 percent of fruit and 10 percent of vegetables are wasted at the retailer. Even more is wasted by consumers, many of whom watch produce spoil prematurely at their home before they can consume it. No...Continue Reading...
Five Days? The Causes of Shelf-life Variability

Five Days? The Causes of Shelf-life Variability

Shelf-life variability is something that you may experience every week but never think about. Look at it this way: How long do you expect your fresh produce to remain “fresh” after it’s purchased and brought home? Before joining Zest Labs, this question never really crossed my mind. I just expected it wouldn’t spoil before I consumed it. Chances are your grocer has a target amount of time for how long you should be able to store the produce you bought before it spoils or goes bad. After all, they want to be able to keep your...Continue Reading...
Produce Shelf Life Extenders and Fresh Food Waste

Produce Shelf Life Extenders and Fresh Food Waste

Do produce shelf-life extenders actually prevent food waste? As produce suppliers and grocery store chains face increased competition and reduced margins, they turn their attention to finding ways to reduce fresh food waste. About 12 percent of fruits and 10 percent of vegetables are wasted at the retail store, according to the NRDC. If one out of 10 heads of lettuce or clam shells of strawberries are being tossed because they spoiled prematurely, that’s a lot of money going to waste that significantly impacts profitability. A...Continue Reading...