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An Analysis of Food Waste in Ontario's Domestic Fresh Strawberry Supply Chain

An Analysis of Food Waste in Ontario's Domestic Fresh Strawberry Supply Chain

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Title: An Analysis of Food Waste in Ontario's Domestic Fresh Strawberry Supply Chain
Author: Siu, Anne
Identifier: MESMP00043
Abstract: Food waste is increasingly being characterized as a prominent global problem. Along with the significant environmental and financial impacts associated with food waste, perhaps more troubling is the phenomenon's global persistence in spite of worldwide hunger. Despite growing recognition of the issue, however, research on food waste has remained limited and effective reduction strategies have not been achieved.

This paper contributes to the development of a comprehensive body of food waste research, conducted as a case study on food waste within Ontario's domestic fresh strawberry supply chain for the years 2008 to 2012, inclusive. It presents quantitative and qualitative analyses of the occurrence and perceived causes of food waste, based on informationPsynthesis from a review of comparable food waste studies and surveys administered to supply chain actors. The recent removal of Ontario's grading standards also provides a unique opportunity to assess historical assumptions concerning government grading standards as key mediators of waste generation.

The results indicate that 56% of edible strawberries grown in Ontario, by volume, are wasted through the course of the supply chain. The percentage estimates of strawberries wasted at each stage are: 15% during agricultural production; 11% during postPharvest handling and distribution; 9% during retail; and 35% during consumption. From a comparative standpoint, consumers are most contributive to waste, while retailers are least. The causes of food waste have been categorized into several areas: biophysical factors, technical factors, issues of mismanagement, regulatory factors, behavioural factors, and the dynamics of supplierPretailer relationships. In particular, increasing importP reliance and the dominance of food retailers are each of significant influence. Incremental strategies for food waste reduction and prevention are here presented in terms of the efficiencyPsubstitutionPredesign (ESR) framework. Overall, strategies addressing food waste are considered to be part of a more general transformative movement towards a food system that is ecologically sustainable, healthPoriented, and equitable.
Type: Major Paper
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/30195
Citation: Major Paper, Master of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Date: 2014

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