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Food loss and waste in food supply chains. A systematic literature review and framework development approach

This study examines the state of the art of the literature in the domain of food loss and waste (FLW) in food supply chains (FSC). The authors used a systematic literature review (SLR) approach to examine and synthesise the findings of the existing literature to identify the key research themes, research gaps and avenues of future research on FLW in FSC. To this end, this SLR considered 152 articles relevant for the review. The authors uncovered the extant literature in the domain by presenting the research profile of the selected studies, along with thematic analysis. The authors identified eight key themes from the extant literature. The themes range from factors responsible for FLW generation to new, emerging areas of research such as digitalisation and food surplus redistribution. The study’s findings will help clarify existing practices in FSC for waste mitigation and act as a foundation for strategic and policy initiatives in this area. The findings indicate that the major factors responsible for FLW include the poor management of perishable food items, stakeholder attitudes, buyer−supplier agreements and supply chain interruptions. Some of the important implications of the study include formal guidelines and policy-level interventions for assisting the accurate quantification of FLW along with an impetus on digitalisation to reduce FLW. The study concludes with the development of a research framework to assist future research in this domain.

Photo credit: ILRI

Target audience
Type of article
Publication year
2021