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  • Team ThinkAg

Innovator Spotlight: Intello Labs

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

How can digitising quality cut down food loss?

How can Globally, 30~70% of fresh produce goes to waste. In India, experts say that 25 to 40% of loss occurs during transit, i.e., the time taken for food to reach from farm to store.

Why? Logistics are far more complicated here. There are multiple handling points across a fragmented supply chain. The ambient temperature hastens food deterioration.

What's the extent of quality damage at each stage of the supply chain?

Intello Labs assessed the defects in the food supply chain starting from farm, to warehouse, to retail.  The study, which analysed 38 commodities encompassing 4 locations over 3 months, threw up some eye-opening figures.

When an item reaches a distribution or fulfilment centre, i.e., a warehouse, it has 8% defect.  Of this total, 3% defect happened at the farm level and could have been eliminated at an earlier stage.

By the time an item reaches the customer, either on shelf of a retail store or at home via an e-commerce retailer, it has 14% defect. 5% of these defects occurred at the farm-stage and again could have been avoided. The balance 9% materialise during transportation and handling.

Guava, cauliflower and papaya see a much sharper rise in defect from warehouse to customer. The incremental defect is as much as 18 to 19%!

Each blemish, bruise, and tear is a loss. In hard numbers, they translate to 15% dump; the measure food businesses use to define food loss.

The alternative: digitally tracking food quality along the supply chain

How do you check these defects, and therefore loss, in food? By controlling quality at the place of origin. When you evaluate quality at a farm or in a collection centre close to the farm as opposed to dumping them later in the supply chain, you can lessen losses.

Existing processes and tools are clearly ineffective, as the defects and dump data indicate.

What is the alternative? AI-enabled quality processing. Enter Intello Labs.

What makes Intello's image processing a better method?

It is an easy-to-use and simple-to-install mobile app that you can deploy to better measure food quality across all points of the supply chain.

· Entirely objective and consistent, making quality assessment free of bias or manual errors.

· Digital and verifiable, ensuring anyone at any later stage can authenticate - what quality was approved.

· Mobile and scalable, dismissing the need for expensive equipment or specialized training.

How do food retail and e-Commerce companies benefit?

By controlling quality, you cut down ‘dump’ and improve profits. In a recent engagement with a large food retailer in India, the projected increase in profits was 3%.

How does it cut down food loss? You can separate items “fit for retail” from “fit for food processing.” It trims the ‘dump’ in the subsequent parts of the supply chain. It also contributes to sustainability efforts. 

The bottom line on tracing food quality

Digitising food quality is not without its pain points. It takes time. For each commodity, you have to gather data on defects, train the algorithm and then test it.

Even the ecosystem needs to evolve; it is impossible to get a certification of accurate quality assaying, if you offer a purely digital solution. 

Nonetheless, it is merely a question of ‘when’ - by when will the complete change happen. We firmly believe digital quality assessment is the inevitable future.

Ramakrishnan M is VP – Sales & Marketing at Intello Labs. He is passionate about Agriculture, AI and start-ups. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter

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