Food waste : a review of the issues, and analysis of solutions

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Date

2021-12-03

Authors

Leslie, Cole

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Abstract

Food waste and food loss are global problems with numerous causes and effects. Project Drawdown, a non-profit focused on solutions to reduce emissions, has ranked reducing food waste as the most important solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is responsible for approximately 8% of global emissions. Meanwhile over two billion people worldwide suffer from food insecurity. Food loss and waste also represents 285 billion dollars in lost revenue for producers and sellers in the United States alone. Many causes for food loss and waste have been identified. Similarly, different solutions have been explored in research, but as food waste continues to grow in the US there is still a significant need for further research and implementation. This thesis uses literature review, expert interviews, and analysis to examine a wide variety of different strategies for reducing food waste and loss with a focus on North America and Europe, the regions that produce the majority of food waste. The strategies explored are based in policy, technology and consumer behavior, with special attention to the latter due to its large proportion of food waste generation in the chosen regions. Results show that while there is a large amount and wide variety of solutions, they remain fragmented, underutilized and sometimes lead to competition between competing environmental, economic and social outcomes. Using the strategies and data compiled, this thesis explores key advances in technology, policy and consumer education. Increasing the effectiveness of consumer education programs, standardizing data-labels through policy, and creating a distributed ledger system for the food system are identified as the top three strategies to advance

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