Food poverty, food waste and the consensus frame on charitable food redistribution in Italy

  • Sabrina ArcuriEmail author
Symposium/Special Issue


Food poverty and food waste are two major contemporary food system problems, which have (re)gained prominence amongst both scholars and policy-makers, due to recent economic and environmental concerns. In this context, the culturally dominant perspective portrays charitable food redistribution as a “win–win solution” to confront food poverty and food waste in affluent societies, although this view is contested by many scholars. This paper applies the notions of framings and flat/sharp keyings to unpack the different narratives entailed by public discourses on food waste and food poverty in Italy. The aim is to problematize the representation of the recent anti-waste/pro-donations law as the optimal policy measure to effectively rectify both food poverty and food waste. The paper argues that the widespread public support for the law reflects the interpretation of charitable food redistribution as a consensus frame, standing for the convergence between flat positions and is reinforced by confusion on terms and responsibilities. Indeed, the strength of the law lies in the capacity to reconcile different positions and bring actors together around a short-term objective, whose foundations have deep roots in the common ethics. However, if the debate is to be moved forward, trade-offs between different framings of problems at stake should be explicitly navigated when designing policy instruments.


Food poverty Food waste Charitable food redistribution Consensus frame Discourse Italy 



Common agricultural policy


Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus (Food Bank Foundation)


Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived


Last minute market


Programme Européen d’Aide alimentaire aux plus Démunis



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversità degli Studi di FirenzeFlorenceItaly

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