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Take-back agreements in the perspective of food waste generation at the supplier-retailer interface
Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Energy & Technol, Box 7070, S-75007 Uppsala, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5586-0372
Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Econ, Box 7013, S-75007 Uppsala, Sweden..
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences (from 2013). Karlstad Univ, Dept Engn & Chem Sci, Univ Gatan 2, S-65188 Karlstad, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7753-4137
Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Dept Econ, Box 7013, S-75007 Uppsala, Sweden..
2017 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 122, p. 83-93Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Food waste must be minimised to make food supply chains sustainable. This is especially relevant since food waste valorisation measures, such as energy recovery, have limited possibilities to fully recover the resources invested in food production. However, waste minimisation is costly when it includes new infrastructure or technology. Policy measures, on the other hand, can provide a low-cost option. Food rejection practices in supermarkets, such as take-back agreements (TBA), have long been identified as risk factors for food waste generation at the supplier-retailer interface, but given the relational, and often discreet, nature of these agreements, there is little evidence of their impact. In this study we provide, concrete evidence of different rejection practices. This is done by studying three types of food chains those for bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, and milk with different rejection practices in Sweden. Based on a combination of primary company information and stakeholder interviews, we found that a full TBA is in operation for bread. The retailer only pays for bread that is sold and any bread left unsold three days before the best-before date is returned to the supplier. For fresh fruit and vegetables, only goods of 'inadequate' quality are returned, but supermarkets have sole rights of determination on quality, posing a risk of categorising unsold fruit and vegetables as inadequate quality and returning them to suppliers. In the case of milk, suppliers take back unsold items, but only for waste management. The trend found in this study was that bread had the highest waste, and the most extensive take-back policy. Fresh fruit and vegetables had medium levels of waste, partly due to unverified rejections, while milk had a very low level of waste combined with an even lower level of rejections. It can be concluded that a food supply chain system where the direct costs of waste management or incentives for waste reduction are separated from the organisation responsible for generating the waste poses a significant risk factor in food waste generation and is therefore a potential hotspot for waste-reducing measures. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017. Vol. 122, p. 83-93
Keywords [en]
Food waste, Reclamation, Take-back policy, Supermarket, fruit & vegetables, Bread
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-65534DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.02.006ISI: 000401881300008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-65534DiVA, id: diva2:1170947
Available from: 2018-01-05 Created: 2018-01-05 Last updated: 2018-06-27Bibliographically approved

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Mattsson, Lisa

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