Authority Magazine Mehring

Big Ideas: “We can greatly reduce food waste by modernizing our delivery system” with Peter Mehring CEO of Zest Labs

In a series on “Big Ideas That Might Change The World In The Next Few Years” Authority Magazine interviewed Peter Mehring. the CEO and a co-founder of Zest Labs. Peter has led Zest Labs’ efforts in pioneering freshness management solutions for the cold supply chain. The company’s Zest Fresh solution improves food quality, reducing waste, and benefiting the environment by modernizing the food distribution and delivery system.

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The Search for a Connected Supply Chain - Inbound Logistics

The Search for a Connected Supply Chain

Produce is a category that’s ripe for IoT. While the technology has been used to monitor irrigation, fertilizer, and weeds for some time, it hasn’t been used post-harvest until recently. Today, IoT allows growers, carriers, and retailers to better track produce shelf life from the moment it’s picked. For example, Zest Labs provides technology that helps reduce up to 40 percent of food waste annually at the retail and consumer level. “Many variables in agriculture—the temperature in the field when produce is picked, how long and in what temperature pallets sit while they’re being loaded—have an impact on shelf life,” says Kevin Payne, Zest Lab’s vice president of marketing.

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Forbes Zest Fresh Strawberries

How Zest Labs Keeps Strawberries Fresh And Out Of Landfill

Fresh strawberries are a favorite for Valentine’s Day. But how much of that fruit actually made it into the mouths of happy consumers? Strawberries are more vulnerable to food waste. Fortunately, Zest Labs has been working closely with strawberry growers to reduce waste throughout the supply chain so that more strawberries end up eaten than tossed.

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Zero Waste Grocery Stores

Make Your Grocery Game Zero-Waste

Shopping for groceries can be overwhelming. Once you get past the sheer volume of products staring down from the aisles, you’ve got to reckon with their ingredients, prices, and the way the food is packed. For environmentally conscious shoppers, the latter—excessive packaging and the resulting pollution—is especially irksome. Enter the zero-waste grocery store. From monitoring the state of fruit and vegetables as they are being transported to helping grocers stock the optimal number of lettuce heads, technology has a lot to offer grocery stores. For example, Zest Labs can reveal the shelf life of a product by monitoring certain metrics like temperature and harvest conditions.

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2019 Food Safety Trends

2019 Food Safety and Transparency Trends

When it comes to addressing food safety, did the industry really make any progress in 2018? In 2019, what new approaches or technologies can be successfully applied to prevent problems before they occur and minimize the consumer risk, minimize the market impact, and speed up the identification, isolation and recall of contaminated products? Will 2019 be the year that we realize we can address this challenge proactively to improve the safety of our fresh food?

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Waste360 Article about Blockchain and Food Safety

Food Industry Needs to Work Out Some Kinks with Blockchain

Blockchain can be used to help ensure food safety within the fresh food supply chain, providing traceability and potentially preventing mistakes in the handling or distribution of food. This is especially applicable to issues that result in recalls or food-borne illness outbreaks, according to Kevin Payne, vice president of marketing at Zest Labs. However, to do this successfully, the solution needs to have reliable data about a product’s condition and processing compliance as it moves through the supply chain. When the right data and blockchain are coupled together, we have the potential to go beyond after-the-fact forensic analysis to proactive management of the cold chain, anticipating and reacting to issues before they become costly problems.

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Zest Labs's CEO Peter Mehring on Yahoo! Finance

NBC Bay Area Interviews Zest Labs' Peter Mehring

Food Waste Reduction - SVBJ Interview

Zest Labs’ CEO Wants to Save Food with a Buffet of Data

Having worked in Silicon Valley since the mid-1980s with companies such as Sun Microsystems and Apple, Peter Mehring has turned his attention toward using technology to reduce food spoilage, which can account for as much as 40 percent of the U.S. food supply. His company, Zest Labs, deploys sensors to track differences in food-freshness degradation rates. That data, in turn, is used to advise food distributors where to ship food optimally so that shipment time is best matched with real-world expiration dates.

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Up Next for IoT in the Food Supply Chain: Predictive Analytics

Up Next for IoT in the Food Supply Chain: Predictive Analytics

“There’s been an evolution of temperature loggers from 10 or 15 years ago. Even if they started out as mechanical or chemical, they’ve always tested temperature in different environments, but they weren’t doing anything to manage the products,” explains Peter Mehring, CEO of Zest Labs. “If you just manage the trailer, there are obvious things you don’t see. You miss how the product is actually being handled and, therefore, you can’t make [good] decisions about the product.”

Zest Labs has been on the forefront of product- or pallet-level monitoring, using sensors to understand the attributes and monitor the conditions specific to the product rather than just the environment the product was placed in. The shift now is taking that a step further and asking, “What can I do now that I have this data?”

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Best Before… Who Knows?

Best Before… Who Knows?

“Many things can impact shelf life,” says Kevin Payne, vice president of marketing at Zest Labs, a San Jose-based tech company trying to take the mystery out of produce shelf life. “But you can’t see those until the very end,” when 24 hours later, your picture-perfect ruby strawberries morph into camo-green fuzz balls. Zest Labs has “removed the randomness of food distribution,” says Dr. Jean-Pierre Emond, a co-founder of The Illuminate Group and an expert on the cold chain. “For each pallet coming in, they now know exactly what to do with it.” Zest Labs technology is enabling growers and retailers, who have never had this type of data, to profit more and decrease food waste.

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IoT for All - Reduce Food Waste

IoT Offers a Fresh Solution for Tackling Food Waste in the Supply Chain

Forty percent. That’s how much food America wastes from farm to fork, according to the National Resource Defense Council. It’s analogous to going to the grocery store, buying five bags of groceries, leaving two of them in the parking lot, and driving away. This decades-old food waste problem has environmental, social, and financial implications. Until now, technology has been ineffective at solving it. Before we talk about where IoT plays a role in all of this, let us discuss why new technology is necessary to address the problem.

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Ocean Mist Farms Selects Zest Fresh to Optimize Freshness Management

Ocean Mist Farms is utilizing Zest Fresh to monitor the condition of product from the field through the processing plant, with the intention of helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and optimize labor resources. Zest Fresh collects data using IoT sensors placed in each pallet at harvest and the data is autonomously collected at various processing waypoints to monitor cut-to-cool time, yard dwell times, pre-cool efficiency and cold storage.

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The Packer (Logo)

Ocean Mist Farms selects Zest Fresh

Zest Labs reports that Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms is utilizing Zest Fresh to automate data collection on the condition of its produce. “Zest Fresh give us tremendous visibility and insight into our operations with specific process feedback to maximize product freshness,” Chris Drew, vice president of operations at Ocean Mist Farms, said in a news release. “With Zest Fresh, the continuous operational visibility ensures we’re always delivering the freshest product to our customers.”

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Earth911 Sustainability Podcast with Zest Labs' CEO Peter Mehring

ZEST Labs Sensors Reduce Food Waste From Field to Shelf

In this episode of the Sustainability in Your Ear podcast, Earth911’s Evelyn Fielding-Lopez talks with Peter Mehring, co-founder and CEO of ZEST Labs. The San Jose, California-based company makes produce-tracking sensors that extend the shelf life of produce and meat. By monitoring the condition of food from the field to the store or restaurant, ZEST supports better decisions in the food supply chain. Learn how technology is being put to work to eliminate food waste that results in 40 percent of U.S.-grown food going unused.

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Avoid wasting food over the holidays

Here’s How You Can Avoid Wasting So Much Food During the Holidays

Food waste is a worldwide problem that companies, labs, even parts of the government, are continually working to improve. Proper storing temperature is even an issue when products are traveling to retailers. “Most of the cause of waste occurs within the first 24 to 48 hours after product is harvested” said Kevin Payne of Zest Labs, “And it’s due to temperature implications.” Zest Labs is a freshness management system that works with analytics and artificial intelligence to determine the remaining shelf life of an item. It ensures that items being sold at the store have enough of a shelf life to last the few days until the product is eaten. They’ve partnered with popular grocery stores like Costco and Hy-Vee, along with many growers, to provide customers with the freshest ingredients. Their technology can reduce waste at the retail level by 50 percent or more. 

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Farmers Can Profit From Waste

Growers are turning to solutions such as Zest Labs to help them fill gaps that compound waste. The company uses analytics and internet of things sensors on fruit and vegetable pallets to help intelligently route food to retailers. Crops are analyzed for shelf life. Those that will last longer can be shipped farther across the U.S., while crops with shorter shelf lives are sent shorter distances.

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GreenBiz

How Chipotle, MGM and Microsoft are Trimming Food Waste

If we were to pile all the food wasted globally on an annual basis — an estimated 1.6 billion tons — we’d need a plate that could accommodate 10 times the mass of Manhattan, according to an estimate by the Boston Consulting Group. By 2030, the amount could expand to 2.1 billion tons per year, in the absence of meaningful action. Waste occurs across the entire value chain and represents a $700 billion opportunity. Early solutions emerging to eliminate points of waste can be roughly organized into 13 areas, one of which is investing in data analytics to optimize supply chain processes. Keep your eyes on Zest Labs which sells a service that helps food distributors and other supply chain members manage produce freshness. In mid-July, it scored a partnership with Costco Wholesale, which is using the technology to monitor cross-country shipments.

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Blockchain and Food Safety

Will Blockchain Solve Food Safety Challenges?

The adoption of blockchain among growers and retailers is a positive development for all AgTech companies.  It provides an opportunity for growers to embrace technology that can help organize their data and provide new insights for addressing pre- and post-harvest challenges. However, for the adoption of any technology to be successful, there must be proven value to the customer. If growers and retailers don’t benefit from a technology, such as blockchain, it likely won’t be embraced. Blockchain, like most technology, must deliver real value to all constituents – growers, shippers and retailers – to be successful. Read more….

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