KANSAS CITY — Before expressing why intelligent bread is important, Enrique Andaluz, director of digital innovation strategy at Microsoft Corp., explained his definition of it. It is bread that reaches the consumer at the lowest cost and reduces waste, spoilage and carbon footprint while offering the best nutritional impact for targeted communities around the world.

He spoke on the topic at the American Society of Baking (ASB)’s BakingTech 2021 virtual conference, held Feb. 16-18. He explained why a more efficient food supply using the latest technology is in the best interests of the global community.

“A third of the food that is produced never reaches the consumer,” Mr. Andaluz said, “and half of those losses could be prevented just by building a more efficient supply chain.”

Nearly a quarter of the total use of water, cropland and fertilizers is used to produce wasted food, with an estimated environmental cost of $700 billion. If those food crop losses were cut in half, it would feed a billion people for a year, he said.

Mr. Andaluz urged the baking industry to work together and make the bakery value chain more efficient, including allowing everyone in the supply chain – not just retailers – to interact with consumers. This begins by providing total visibility of bread’s journey from harvest to table, which would show where problems are occurring, and the industry could take action together.

“If we collaborate, we can make a substantial economic, social and environmental impact for all of us to enjoy,” he said.

Technology can facilitate the communication and collaboration.

“I encourage all of us to bank on technology to accelerate the pace of innovation,” Mr. Andaluz said.