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Will Food-Focused eCommerce Create Waste?

Many people are concerned about the impact of waste on the environment and the economy. Across the board, processes are just inherently inefficient — causing massive amounts of resources to go unused. Food is one of the worst cases of waste. And, the United States is one of the worst perpetrators.

Every year, $165 billion worth of food is thrown away in the U.S.

It is imperative that we find ways to reduce food waste. With that said, the question now becomes how we should go about accomplishing this?

Will food-focused eCommerce create waste, or alleviate the problem?

What You Want, When You Want It.

Part of the reason so much food is wasted in the U.S. is consumers don’t use the things they buy. When people go to the store, they tend to get what they think is enough food to last until the next time they go shopping. Thus, people tend to overbuy. This isn’t necessarily an issue for things that can just sit in the freezer. But what about all of those perishable items like fruit and dairy products? Consumers usually want them when they buy them; but the tendency is often to forget about those items and accidentally allow them to go bad.

One benefit to eCommerce food delivery is it will lower the amount of food people need to purchase at any given time. When goods are brought directly to your home, you won’t need to plan so far in advance. The time-consuming aspect of shopping is negated in this way. By having the option to get groceries and other foods delivered, people will be more likely to buy only what they will eat in the immediate future.

How Can You Get In on the eCommerce Food Trend?

Many companies—large and small—are trying to find the best way to enter the eCommerce food space. As with most things, being an early adopter of a trend positions you for more success down the line. The first step is to find the best website builder for eCommerce. There are many options out there; but some are superior to others. You also need to figure out your product niche. Are you going to sell pressed juices or homemade meals? Whatever you do, make sure it can be delivered in a timely manner and arrive fresh — in one piece.

Won’t Home Food Delivery Be Wasteful in Other Ways?

It’s easy to assume delivery is less efficient than people going to the store to pick things up. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. It actually makes more sense to have food delivery from a fuel consumption perspective. A few trucks can fill the role of a fleet of cars. Further, there will be fewer cars on the road if people aren’t all going to the same places. This means efficiency will increase for those vehicles still out there dealing with fewer impediments.

Containers are another potential concern of food ecommerce. Food and food packaging makes up about 45 percent of landfill waste in the U.S. under the current paradigm. Imagine how much of that could be cut down if food ecommerce companies offered reusable packaging? This could singlehandedly reduce the amount of waste food service contributes to our environmental problems.

No one has figured out the perfect system for food eCommerce yet. However, it’s safe to say that, if done correctly, food-focused eCommerce has the potential to reduce overall waste.  Plus, we’ll all be eating fresher and potentially healthier — that registers as a win-win for everyone.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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