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Unit: 1. Definition of food waste FoRWaRD



enough fresh farm produce to meet the demand. Part of the problem stems from the
seasonality of production and the cost of investing in processing facilities that will not be used
year-round (FAO, 2011). In developed countries, processing facilities are also a major source
of waste. This happens mainly during trimming, which removes both edible portions (e.g.
skin, fat, peels, end pieces) and inedible portions (e.g. bones, pits) from food. Over-
production, product and packaging, as well as technical malfunctions, can also cause
processing losses, though these may be difficult to avoid. In some cases, trimming at the
processing stage, rather than by the end user, may be more efficient in terms of quantity lost
and potential use of scrap by-products (Gunders, 2012).

e) Bad packaging
For decades, packaging has been portrayed as the ultimate symbol of industrial
society’s excessive consumption. Packaging professionals, who work to reduce food waste,
extend shelf life and reduce the consumption of packaging materials, are spearheading a
mind-set change. Indeed, if packaging is part of the environmental issue of food discard, it
can also be part of the solution by preventing waste.

f) Losses during transport
Improving transportation to reduce food waste has many requirements, such as
improving the means of transportation (e.g. boat, rail and roads), the condition of
transportation (e.g. refrigerated vehicles), and eventually reducing the number of kilometres
to be covered by creating market options closer to the production place.

In terms of environmental impact, improving transportation can be quite complex.
Supply chain planners must carefully consider the trade-off between transportation-related
energy cost and environmental impact, and between storage-related energy cost and
environmental impact. Indeed, the frequent and small deliveries recommended by lean
manufacturing practices may optimize efficiency within a facility, but they can increase the
overall carbon footprint. The decrease of transport distances leads to sustainable systems that
reduce the environmental nuisances caused by food supplying (Blanquart et al., 2010)

g) Losses during retailing
A lack of basic infrastructures and inadequate market systems can cause high food
losses. To minimize losses, commodities produced by farmers need to reach the consumers in
an efficient way.

Certain retail practices in developed countries are responsible for a great deal of
avoidable food waste. A culture of opulence cultivated in the last two decades has created the
perception and expectation that displaying large quantities and having a wide range of
products and brands leads to increased sales. Yet, this practice increases the likelihood of food
being wasted for no good reason.

Furthermore, it is a common perception among retailers that, when food is getting
closer to the end of its shelf-life, it is cheaper to discard it rather than sell it. This might be
true strictly economically, as these items do occupy shelf-space, but this is without
considering the environmental and social cost of producing and then discarding food. Some
companies that understand this larger impact have even found a possible profit in identifying
ways to sell items close to their use-by date.




FORWARD-WP5-1. Definition of food waste
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