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Food waste prevention strategies in global food chains: Conclusions and recommendations from the SIANI Expert group on food waste 2016
RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Food and Bioscience.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8038-1365
RISE, SP – Sveriges Tekniska Forskningsinstitut, SP Food and Bioscience.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0339-2647
2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Around 1/3 of edible food produced is wasted and when converted into calories this losscorresponds to 1/4 of the nutritional energy from food. Reducing food waste is a “triplewin” activity: as it saves money since less resources are needed, as less waste is equal tothe opportunity to feed more people in the future, and furthermore reduced wastedecreases the pressure on climate, water, and land resources. The need to reduce foodwaste is also a part sustainability goals (SDG12.3). The success in reducing food waste ishighly dependent on an effective communication across the supply chain since the truecause of food waste many times is found in other parts of the supply chain than it where itactually happens. Such circumstances are particularly challenging in global food chainsin particular food chains starting in developing countries ending in high income countriesdue to the geographic distance and the involvement of many actors.The aim of this project, coordinated by the “SIANI” Expert group on food wastepreventions strategies in global food chains” was to gather current knowledge andexperience, as well as best practice on how to manage food chains starting in developingcountries ending in high income countries with focus on vegetables and fresh fruits. Thiswas done by taking a multi-stakeholder perspective, by a survey and a workshop, toidentify knowledge gaps and opportunities:The specific questions raised in the project were:• How can our way of managing global food chains support the farmer in lowincome countries?• How can best practice in high income countries (e.g. Sweden) decrease the foodwaste of imported food by e.g. appropriate labelling, appropriate businessmodels, consumer information etc.?• How can best practice in our (Swedish) food chains be transferred to low incomecountries, improving the local food chain to the benefits of the local actors? Sinceglobal and local food markets are communicating vessels the hypothesis is that awell-functioning local food chain will lead to less overall food waste and moreincome to the farmers.The gap analysis shows that there are large knowledge gaps on how the supply chainsfunction, how much food is wasted and the causes of the food waste. The survey carriedout also shows that there is a demand for political action, and resources are needed inorder to make a change:

− To facilitate and enable actions directed towards minimising food waste,recourses are needed for: education and training, technology implementation,better infrastructure and communication in the food system. This is importantwhen trading with developing countries and poor farmers with low educationalbackground.− The transparency, particularly in long supply chains, is problematic asinformation seems to be lost the longer the chain is; this is especially challengingwhen working with developing countries where the knowledge gap and theability to be a strong partner compared to the large industries and retailers ischallenging. Other aspects of transparency that needs to be addressed is thesharing information on e.g. campaigns, and other activities having an influenceon the demand along the food supply chain.− The survey shows that there is much knowledge in place that is not shared alongthe supply chain. Round table discussions and knowledge sharing within different sectors may be a first step in making use of current know-how, and to set up anagenda on needs and how to collaborate− To facilitate and enable actions directed toward minimising food waste, recoursesare needed for: education and training of all those in the early stages of the supplychain, technology implementation, better infrastructure and communication in thefood system. This is important when trading with developing countries and poorfarmers with low educational background.

Much research is ongoing relating to sustainable food production without considering theresearch question being central for reducing food waste. Food waste research still suffersfrom that it is a quite new research area that is under development. Research focus onglobal food chains is currently focusing on quantification of food waste, impact ofinformation activities and awareness raising activities and is focused on the situation inhigh income countries. Addressing food waste in global food chains as defined in thisreport shows that research adapted to the needs in the local food chains in developingcountries are needed. For example how can a farmer make use of IT in a simple way(almost every farmer has a mobile phone), are there packing solution that can be usedtropical fruits so that a desired even quality can be delivered, how to handle the waste thatstill happens in the best way (feed, new product, biogas etc.) and how to take care of theinedible parts (leaves, stems, peels etc.). Process technologies suitable for small scaleapplications, e.g. by processing fruits having a low quality it can be preserved and sold asexported as processed fruit instead of being unsold or sold to the local market to a muchlower price.The Swedish resource base and research network could contribute to more sustainableand fair food chains with less waste by sharing their knowledge and take actionsaccording to:• Swedish Universities and Institutes could take a role in educating students andhosting visiting researchers to cover the knowledge gaps.• NGOs could take the important role as facilitators and educators in developingcountries on site.• The actors in the food supply chain can advance their position by dialogue,collaboration and information sharing; also, by hosting trainees from developingcountries learning Swedish best practice and serve as food “waste ambassadors”when they return back home.• Researcher and innovators could contribute to technology development,particularly simple, robust technological solutions to be used in developingcountries.• The key is however that Swedish actors we collaborate (researchers, innovators,food processors, retailers, authorities and policy makers) and share ourknowledge and experience in an organised way.

The actual practical solutions for reducing food waste need to build on the collectedexperience and the knowledge carried by the actors in the supply chains and theresearchers working with problems relating to food from different perspectives. Abottom-up approach is needed being supported by appropriate policy intervention.Finally, although the field is hampered by the unclear ownership of the question and lackof collaboration, there is always a” working window” for each actor in the supply chainwhere improvements can take place right now. Numerous of examples and ideas areprovided in the report and its annex.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , p. 48
Series
RISE Rapport ; 2016:99
Keywords [en]
food waste prevention, global food chains
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-44553ISBN: 978-91-89167-07-0 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-44553DiVA, id: diva2:1415299
Note

Financial support: Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative (SIANI) Project Time: October 2015- November 2016

Available from: 2020-03-18 Created: 2020-03-18 Last updated: 2020-03-18Bibliographically approved

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