Tackling Food Waste by Extending Shelf Life Naturally for a More Sustainable Future

Talking Nutrition Editors

  • Food waste is a global issue that has a wide-reaching social, economic and environmental impact. If just 25% of all the food currently lost or wasted was saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people.1
  • Stop Food Waste Day on April 24th aims to draw attention to the food waste epidemic and share creative and impactful solutions to tackle it.
  • By 2050, world food consumption is expected to grow by 70%. DSM’s solutions increase the shelf life of food, help reduce food waste and ultimately, feed growing populations worldwide.2

How DSM can support your business in achieving a longer shelf life for your products.

DSM's antioxidant solutions can help increase shelf life in a more natural, scientifically-proven and effective way helping also decrease food waste.

The global food waste challenge

Food waste is a global epidemic and it has worrying social, economic and environmental consequences. A third of all food produced is wasted every year, which equates to $1.2 trillion worth of food annually.3 Stop Food Waste Day, which took place on April 24th, aims to draw attention to the food waste issue and raise awareness of solutions that can help tackle the problem, through changing how food is produced, bought, stored and consumed.

The statistics around food waste are staggering. If 25% of the food currently lost or wasted was saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people. By 2050, world food consumption is expected to grow by 70%. With these extra mouths to feed, sustainability across the global food supply chain is critical to ensuring healthy diets and adequate nutrition for all.

A naturally effective solution

Spoilage is one of the main causes of food waste and there are three main types of spoilage that can occur; physical, microbial and chemical. Physical spoilage can include bruising or the loss or gain of water, microbial spoilage involves the damage of food through bacteria, mold or yeast and chemical spoilage, also called oxidation, relates to loss of hydrogen, loss of electrons and the gaining of oxygen. The oxidation process changes the sensory properties of food, impacting taste, color and smell. Spoilage compounds food waste further because just one spoiled ingredient, such as salami on a pizza, can result in the whole product being thrown away.

Prolonging the shelf life is an important step in reducing food waste but, with the move towards more natural ingredients, consumers are increasingly looking for foods that are free from chemical preservatives. DSM has a broad portfolio of antioxidants and bio-preservatives that help to increase shelf life in a natural and consumer-friendly way.

A closer look at antioxidants

Tocopherol (vitamin E), mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) are all antioxidants that reduce and slow down the chemical spoilage of food, helping to increase shelf life and reduce food waste. Each food type requires a customized quantity and combination of ingredients to reduce oxidation. By measuring the antioxidants naturally present in the raw ingredients used to manufacture food products, DSM builds the antioxidant system based on those ratios, and adds the naturally required amount to ensure an optimal shelf life. This analytical process helps food producers save time and money in getting products to market.

Sustainability matters

Food waste also has significant environmental consequences. In fact, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emission producing country in the world.4 DSM actively works to lower the environmental footprint of its activities and has successfully reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations. This is especially the case for the manufacturing of tocopherol and ascorbic acid where DSM has achieved a significant reduction in carbon footprint, providing customers with a solution that delivers against science-backed sustainability targets.

Published on

30 April 2019


  • Food and Beverage
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Antioxidants Shelf-Life
  • Article
  • Senior Management


4 min read

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  1. FAO report, http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

  2. FAO report, http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/wsfs/docs/Issues_papers/HLEF2050_Global_Agriculture.pdf

  3. FAO report, http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/

  4. Key facts on food loss and waste you should know, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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