Zest Labs' Vice President of Marketing Kevin Payne Discusses its Updated Solutions
SAN JOSE, CA - There’s always two sides to the same coin: on the one side, those in our industry are tackling the goal of feeding many with delicious, fresh produce; but on the other side, there’s excess and waste that comes with the territory. However, companies like Zest Labs have taken it upon itself to remedy food waste as a rising problem in our industry and world. With the numbers reporting that more than 33 percent of post-harvest food goes to waste, Zest Lab is churning out solutions to reduce waste by 50 percent or more in order to fix this environmental, ethical, and financial problem.
I caught up with Kevin Payne, Vice President of Marketing, to find out more about how Zest Labs has updated its solutions to sustainably prevent food waste, manage the fresh food supply chain, and, in turn, improve profitability for growers, shippers, processors, and retail grocers.
“We’re at the forefront of the development of post-harvest ag tech solutions,” Kevin shares with me. “The produce and grocery industries are facing tight margins that are further squeezed by new discount competitors, increased freight costs, and changing consumer buying preferences, so anywhere growers, shippers, distributors, and retailers can reduce costs is significant. Specifically, we help growers ensure their processes are adhered to and that their assets are efficiently and optimally utilized. For retailers, we reduce the waste that costs them six percent or more in product margin on produce and ensure their customers can shop a high-quality product. As a result, Zest Labs helps build loyalty in a market where customers have many options for how and where they shop.”
Among its solutions, Zest Lab introduced the industry’s first freshness metric Zest Intelligent Pallet Routine Code (ZIPR Code) in January 2017 after noticing most waste and shrink begins in the field at harvest. The ZIPR Code utilizes a combination of modern technologies, like predictive analytics, machine learning, and autonomous data capture using loT condition sensors, to collect data at the pallet-level and throughout the supply chain to accurately and dynamically calculate the remaining shelf-life and freshness of produce.
This year, the company also announced the integration of Zest Fresh with blockchain technology in order to provide a secure network for sharing information and accurate data, autonomously collected by Zest Fresh, between companies and business partners.
“Zest Labs is the only solution provider delivering proactive freshness management solutions. Other approaches provide only after-the-fact or forensic data about what went wrong and as a result are reactive instead of proactive in reducing costs and waste,” Kevin tells me. “By providing actionable insights through real-time alerts and dashboards, we provide complete supply chain visibility and the ability to take corrective actions as needed, from harvest to store.”
When I ask Kevin if there’s anything potential customers should know if they’re hesitating on tapping into these innovative solutions, he assures me gathering objective insights from a third-party is critical for many in our industry.
“Objective data collection and analysis, validated through an independent data company, like Zest Labs, strengthens trust between the growers, suppliers, and retailers. It also provides trusted data that each party can use to improve their own operations. Zest Fresh provides objective data that helps everyone. Supply chain participants can determine what information they want to share amongst parties and still receive the full benefits of the solution,” Kevin says.
With that said, Zest Labs is here to help companies continue to meet our industry’s traditional needs and adapt to the market as it evolves.
For more on companies helping the produce industry flourish on the technology side, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.