Causes of Food Loss and Waste: An Analysis Along the Food Supply Chain

  • Vanessa S. M. MagalhãesEmail author
  • Luís Miguel D. F. Ferreira
  • Cristóvão Silva
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Mathematics & Statistics book series (PROMS, volume 280)


The waste of food represents a missed opportunity to feed the growing world population. This is the main reason why member states of the European Union are committed to halve the food loss and waste by 2030. To reach this goal, researchers and practitioners are working to find solutions on the level of prevention of food loss and waste. However, to adequately tackling the problem, researchers and relevant stakeholders need to understand the origins of food loss and waste for the different stages of the supply chain. To help with that, this paper reviews the main causes of food loss and waste for each stage of the supply chain. In conclusion, the most urgent causes of food loss and waste to tackle seem to be the demand forecasting, the handling and operational bad practices, the specifications set by retailers regarding weight, size and colour, and the decay of the products quality. Therefore, since these are common to almost all stages of the supply chain, researchers and practitioners should form multi-disciplinary teams to develop solutions for food loss and waste prevention, based on concepts of supply chain cooperation and coordination, seeking to improve the organization and the visibility of information along supply chains.


Food supply chain Food loss and waste Causes 



This work is financed by national funds through FCT - Foundation for Science and Technology, I.P., under the project SFRH/BD/132563/2017.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa S. M. Magalhães
    • 1
    Email author
  • Luís Miguel D. F. Ferreira
    • 1
  • Cristóvão Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.CEMMPRE, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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