Food loss and food waste research in the Arab world: a systematic review
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Food loss and food waste are recognized as two of the most challenging dilemmas facing the world today with serious repercussions on food security, the environment, and global as well as regional and national economies. This is not different in the Arab countries where the food loss and food waste generated per person sometimes exceeds 210 kg per year. Literature searches indicate there is a paucity of applied studies that investigate the drivers, sources, management, quantification, policies, interventions, and initiatives to reduce food loss and food waste in the Arab world, a region with more than 400 million inhabitants. Despite the importance of the topic, only twenty-five relevant articles were identified, providing limited data on food loss and food waste generation. The studies also use sampling procedures that do not allow for generalization of results over the Arab region or even for making comparisons among studies. The review concludes that further research on food loss and food waste along the food supply chain in the Arab world is necessary with a focus on trends, causes, and social, technological, behavioral, attitudinal, and cultural drivers. Investigating environmental and economic implications along with policy development and coping strategies, as well as consumer attitudes towards waste in general and food waste in particular are also important topics to be researched, especially given the variation in cultural and religious practices across the Arab world. The generation of such information and knowledge is indispensable for taking remedial action towards mitigating the problem of food loss and food waste.
KeywordsFood waste Food loss Developing countries Arab countries
The authors would like to thank Dr. Imad P. Saoud of the Department of Biology of the American University of Beirut (AUB) and Ms. Mary Clare Leader, Corresponding Editor of the AUB Press, for their valuable feedback and editorial comments on the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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