Dipartimento di Ingegneria Gestionale

Food Waste Reduction

About the project

The research team analyses food waste generation along the food supply chain and the reduction processes activated by companies. We give special attention to surplus food redistribution for social aims and the collaboration with food banks and other non-profit organizations. Through pilot projects new models of surplus food recovery and redistribution are being developed and tested for the urban context. An intensive dissemination activity accompanies the research work.

Principal Investigators: Paola Garrone, Marco Melacini, Alessandro Perego

Researcher team:  Giulia Bartezzaghi, Sedef Sert

Funders: Multiple

Duration: 2011-onwards

Partners: Multiple

KEY RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The team has conducted a quantification of the surplus food and food waste created along the Italian agri-food supply chain, and an analysis of the generation causes. We have also analysed the processes through which producers, transformers, retailers and canteens can redistribute surplus food, i.e. safe unsold or unserved food, to non-profit aid organizations, and more generally can reduce food waste according to the Food Waste Hierarchy. A large number of case studies has allowed us to pinpoint how and when the food supply chain companies can collaborate with non-profit organizations and to estimate the costs of recovering and redistributing surplus food. Along with a network of stakeholders, we are now engaged with the development of a model and pilot case of surplus food recovery and redistribution in urban neighborhoods.

Throughout the research activities, the research team has been dialoguing with, and offering advice to policymakers, non-profit organizations, companies who are concerned with the alleviation of food poverty and the reduction of food waste. We have undertaken several actions to transfer the learnt lessons to a broad and diverse audience: conference presentations, academic publications, service into policy committees and boards of non-profit entities, ad-hoc consulting with policy makers and other stakeholders, practice-oriented and training workshops, meetings with civil society representatives.

OUTPUTS & IMPACTS

  • Sert, S., Garrone, P., Melacini, M. & Perego, A. (2018). Corporate food donations: altruism, strategy or cost saving?. British Food Journal, forthcoming, DOI 10.1108/BFJ-08-2017-0435.
  • Baglioni, S., Calo, F., Garrone, P., Molteni, M. (2018), “Introduction”, In Foodsaving in Europe:  At the crossroad of social innovation  (eds. Baglioni, Calo, Garrone and Molteni), Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Houndmills (UK)
  • Melacini, M., Rasini, M., Sert, S (2018), “Surplus food redistribution in the supply chain:  A conceptual framework”, In Foodsaving in Europe:  At the crossroad of social innovation (eds. Baglioni, Calo, Garrone and Molteni), Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Houndmills (UK)
  • Forcada, O., Sert, S., Soldevilla, V., Vidali, F., (2018), “Surplus food redistribution: Best practices in European manufacturing and retail”. In Foodsaving in Europe:  At the crossroad of social innovation  (eds. Baglioni, Calo, Garrone and Molteni), Palgrave Macmillan Publishers, Houndmills (UK)Garrone, P., Melacini, M., Perego, A., Sert S., (2017). “Measuring and reducing food waste along the supply chain: evidence from Italy”. XXV Conference of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE), August 28 – September 1, 2017, Parma (I). Garrone, P., Melacini, M., Perego, A., & Sert, S. (2016). Reducing food waste in food manufacturing companies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 137, 1076-1085. Sert S., Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A. (2015). “Surplus food redistribution for social purposes: analysis of critical success factors”. In: Envisioning a future without food waste and food poverty: Societal challenges. p. 79-86, Wageningen Academic Publishers, ISBN: 978-90-8686-275-7, Bilbao, Spain, 17/11/2015-18/11/2015, doi: 10.3920/978-90-8686-820-9_8
  • Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A., 2015, Surplus food management against food waste. Il recupero delle eccedenze alimentari. Dalle parole ai fatti, La Fabbrica, Milano, ISBN: 9788861280038
  • Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A., 2014, “Opening the Black Box of Food Waste Reduction”,  Food Policy, 46, 129-139.
  • Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A., 2014, “Surplus food recovery and donation: the upstream process”, British Food Journal, Special issue on Food Banks, 116 (9), 1460-1478
  • Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A., 2013, Feed the Hungry. The Potential of Surplus Food Recovery, Fondazione per la Sussidiarietà, Milano, ISBN: 9788897793038
  • Garrone P., Melacini M., Perego A., 2012, Dar da mangiare agli affamati. Le eccedenze alimentari come opportunità, Guerini e Associati, Milano, ISBN: 9788862504386
  • MOOC: Share food, cut waste (with Banco Alimentare of POK (Polimi Open Knowledge)
  • Awards: SOM Research Impact Prize 2016 (first prize in the “impact on policy” category to the Garrone – Melacini – Perego team; School of Management of Politecnico di Milano); Expo 2015 Best Practice Award (first prize shared with other 4 international best practices, out of 786 proposals), as one of the partners of the FIRST AID proposal (Food is a Resource to Secure Tangible Assistance and Inclusion to the Deprived); CRR (Corporate Responsibility Research) Best Paper Award 2011, as authors of “Food Waste Reduction: Empirical Findings from the Italian Food Supply Chain”, Corporate Responsability Research Conference. Leeds, 12-14 September 2011)

FUNDERS

  •  Polisocial Award (competitive grant, Integrated System for Surplus Food Valorization in the Neighborhood)
  • Fondazione Cariplo (competitive grant, Foodsaving)
  • Kellogg’s (expenses for book publication, Surplus food management against food waste. Il recupero delle eccedenze alimentari. Dalle parole ai fatti), Fondazione per la Sussidiarietà (research contract, Feed the Hungry. The Potential of Surplus Food Recovery)
  • Assolombarda Confindustria Milano, Monza, Brianza e Lodi (research contract, Surplus food recovery in a metropolitan area)

PARTNERS

  • Comune di Milano-Food Policy
  • Banco Alimentare Onlus
  • Politecnico di Milano (DEIB)
  • Università Bocconi
  • Altis-Università Cattolica
  • Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, ECR