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The value of food waste: An exploratory study on retailing

Author:
Cicatiello, Clara   Franco, Silvio   Pancino, Barbara   Blasi, Emanuele  


Journal:
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services


Issue Date:
2016


Abstract(summary):

Highlights

Increasing concern over food waste but few research on retail food waste.

Attempt to estimate the environmental, social and economic value of retail food waste.

The environmental value of the food recovered is assessed basing on the consumption of natural resources.

The social value is estimated as the number of meals which can be prepared with the food recovered.

The economic value is based on the analysis of the revenues and costs of the project.

Abstract

Retailers are increasingly concerned with the sustainability of their business. Food waste is a major sustainability issue: 90 million tons of food are wasted in the EU every year. The production of much of this waste is directly linked to the food chain operations, included those performed at the retail stage. The literature on food waste has mainly focused so far on the quantification of the total food lost along the supply chain. However, the stage of retail has long been neglected. This paper attempts to partly fill this research gap, with the aim of measuring the extent of food waste in retailing as well as its environmental, social and economic value. To do so, we analyse the results of a food waste recovery project held in an Italian supermarket and, by drawing on the data collected in this case study, we perform an evaluation of the value of the food wasted. The results show that the extent of food waste in retailing is certainly considerable, both in terms of quantity and economic value. Moreover, we found evidence that it may be greatly reduced, with a significant limitation of its environmental impact and, through the mechanism of recovery, it may even generate social benefits. Despite the many limitations of such preliminary research, the results provide useful information for retailers aiming to develop strategies against food waste in the context of improving the sustainability of their business.



Page:
96-104


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