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How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Food Transportation

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People are increasingly preoccupied with their food supply and knowing where it comes from. This is not only for safety but because of the impact the food business has on the planet. Transportation, in particular, is one of the biggest reasons for its large carbon footprint, and more has to be done to curb the situation. The issue is that too many are either unaware of how this can be done or are unwilling to make the effort. Let’s take a look at how food businesses can reduce their environmental impact on the planet.

Green transport

Image Credit: Pixabay

Go for Closer Suppliers

The first thing you have to do is revise your list of suppliers. You have to reduce the distance from people supplying you and from your distribution centers to your outlets. If you didn’t take that into consideration when you chose spots for your retail locations, you will have to do so from now on. 

Be More Efficient

Another thing you have to make sure of is that you maximize every shipment. The more you can load, the less you’ll have to pay, the more you’ll get with every shipment, and more importantly, the less energy you’ll be consuming. This can be done in many ways and will depend on the industry and the transportation methods used. For instance, you have railcar loading services that will maximize corn, soybean, and DDGs shipments with patented loading systems. 

You also have to find ways to maximize the number of products you can fit on pallets. You can do this in many ways, but the best way is to rethink your packaging. Flexible packing, for instance, is one of the best ways to package certain food items and their design allows you to fit more per shipment. Packaging weight will also make a difference in how much it costs to ship it, as well as its carbon footprint.

Go Direct to Consumer

If you can ship items directly from the manufacturer, do so. While distribution centers can make things easier and warehousing can help with inventory management and other things, try to find a solution that will allow you to ship directly to your customers. If you don’t have a website set up for direct orders, do so already and try to work on a solution with your manufacturer, or switch to one that will accommodate you.

Change Transportation Methods

Some forms of transportations are more harmful to the planet and should be avoided as much as possible. The first one is air. If you’re having ingredients flown in, it already means that they’re coming from far away. Second, these are often products with a very short shelf life, meaning that you’ll need to keep shipping more and more.

Long truck journeys are also bad. The best option is to go for a close producer or produce that was brought in by sea. Sea travel remains the greenest option if you absolutely have to import your products.

These are all things people in the food business can do to reduce their carbon footprint and the environmental impact of transportation. Try to find ways to constantly improve and be more efficient.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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