Minimizing waste at Unilever

Redefining margarine: a sustainable approach to production

Margarine hasn’t been just margarine for a long time. Unilever alone delivers fifty types of different margarines using just their own recipe. This means that the Unilever factory in Rotterdam switches recipes at least 2500 times per week! However, after each switch, residue stays behind in the machines.

Innovative solutions for waste reduction

Unilever felt that it was a waste to throw those rements out, so they asked Studio Maui, ‘Can you design a software that can map out the optimal order to reuse the remaining margarine?’. After all, as long as the ingredients of the recipes match, nothing needs to be lost.

Turning waste into opportunity

To solve this problem, we developed a cost matrix that showed the costs of each recipe transition. Using this information, we were able to develop a production order that favoured the minimization of both cost and waste.

Advancing sustainability through technology

However, the innovation doesn’t end there. The next step is implementing an algorithm developed by Studio Maui, that allows the computer to see what ingredients are in the residue of for example recipe A, so they won’t have to be added to recipe B. This brings us a lot closer to a sustainable production process whereby all recipes are filled in an ideal order!

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