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Why don’t you eat your food? A study about cooperation in the Swedish food value chain to reduce household food waste

Westregård, Henrik LU (2012) MVEM30 20121
Studies in Environmental Science
Abstract
In a world where more people must survive on fewer resources, food waste has become greatly focused. Waste means that the entire production has been unnecessary. It is an economic loss for a company but also for society at large. Moreover, the food chain causes an environmental impact, not least from a climate perspective. The various actors certainly try to reduce their own losses but because consumer waste means increased sales, it is difficult to find incentives that change directions.
Many researchers and organisations work to identify waste. However, there are communicative deficiencies in the food industry on how to tackle the problem as well as what roles and responsibilities the different actors should have. Through an... (More)
In a world where more people must survive on fewer resources, food waste has become greatly focused. Waste means that the entire production has been unnecessary. It is an economic loss for a company but also for society at large. Moreover, the food chain causes an environmental impact, not least from a climate perspective. The various actors certainly try to reduce their own losses but because consumer waste means increased sales, it is difficult to find incentives that change directions.
Many researchers and organisations work to identify waste. However, there are communicative deficiencies in the food industry on how to tackle the problem as well as what roles and responsibilities the different actors should have. Through an environmental and resource perspective, this thesis focuses on the unnecessary food waste from Swedish households. Interviews with a selection of food industry stakeholders have resulted in a bright problem picture. Further, it proposes approaches and future solutions.
Because food throwing is optional, knowledge is considered to be one of the key solutions. Educative actions for children and adults should be given priority in different parts of society and the actors have some responsibility to help households towards sustainable actions. The lack of knowledge and distance from food production means that people are unsure of what real food quality is. Therefore, much food becomes unnecessarily discarded. Already implemented campaigns have been targeted at specifically interested consumers. It will never make a big difference. If players work together for creating a common and public message, there are opportunities to have great impact when it reaches to the many people.
Despite informative measures, there are strong arguments showing that political and addressed instruments are the right solutions for achieving long-term results. Lack of adequate incentives prevents the food chain from helping the consumer to reduce its waste. Therefore, governmental organisations should send cooperation invites to the food chain actors for discussing changes in the systematic purchase patterns that exist today. Retail’s influence over consumers is large and it may be unclear who creates the demand. If actors start to communicate with each other, there are golden chances to make consumers purchase the right products, which end up in the stomach instead of in the trash. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
I en värld där många fler människor ska leva på allt färre resurser har matavfall hamnat i ett stort fokus. Svinnet innebär att hela produktionen har gått förlorad. Det är ett ekonomiskt bortfall för företag men även för samhället i stort. Dessutom orsakar hela livsmedelskedjan miljöpåverkan, inte minst från ett klimatperspektiv. De olika aktörerna försöker självklart minska sitt eget svinn men eftersom konsumentsvinnet innebär en ökad försäljning så är det idag svårt att hitta incitament för att påverka åt rätt håll.
Många forskare och organisationer arbetar för att kartlägga svinnet. Det finns dock kommunikativa brister i livsmedelsbranschen om hur man ska angripa problematiken samt vilka roller och ansvar de olika aktörerna borde ha.... (More)
I en värld där många fler människor ska leva på allt färre resurser har matavfall hamnat i ett stort fokus. Svinnet innebär att hela produktionen har gått förlorad. Det är ett ekonomiskt bortfall för företag men även för samhället i stort. Dessutom orsakar hela livsmedelskedjan miljöpåverkan, inte minst från ett klimatperspektiv. De olika aktörerna försöker självklart minska sitt eget svinn men eftersom konsumentsvinnet innebär en ökad försäljning så är det idag svårt att hitta incitament för att påverka åt rätt håll.
Många forskare och organisationer arbetar för att kartlägga svinnet. Det finns dock kommunikativa brister i livsmedelsbranschen om hur man ska angripa problematiken samt vilka roller och ansvar de olika aktörerna borde ha. Genom ett miljö- och resursperspektiv fokuserar den här uppsatsen på det onödiga matavfallet från svenska privathushåll. Intervjuer med ett urval från branschens olika aktörer har resulterat i en bra bild av problematiken samt förslag på angreppssätt och framtida lösningar.
Då kastad mat är ett fritt val anses kunskap vara en av de viktigaste lösningarna. Utbildning av både barn och vuxna borde prioriteras i olika delar av samhället och även aktörerna har ett visst ansvar att hjälpa hushållen mot hållbara handlingar. Kunskapsbristen och distansen från matproduktion gör att man är osäker på matens egentliga kvalitet och en stor andel kastas i onödan. De kampanjer som hittills har genomförts är riktade mot speciellt intresserade konsumenter. Det kommer aldrig att göra en stor skillnad. Om aktörer går ihop och skapar ett gemensamt budskap så finns det möjligheter att få stor slagkraft när det når ut till den breda massan.
Trots informativa åtgärder finns det starka argument som visar att politiska och riktade styrmedel är den riktiga lösningen för att nå långsiktiga resultat. Avsaknad av tillräckliga incitament hindrar livsmedelskedjan från att hjälpa konsumenten att minska sitt svinn. Därför borde statliga organisationer bjuda in till samarbete med livsmedelskedjans aktörer för att diskutera förändringar av de systematiska köpmönster som finns idag. Handelns inflytande över konsumenten är stort och det kan anses oklart vem som skapar efterfrågan. Om man istället börjar kommunicera med varandra så finns det goda chanser att konsumenter köper rätt och bra mat som hamnar i magen istället för i soporna. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Westregård, Henrik LU
supervisor
organization
course
MVEM30 20121
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
food waste, sustainability, consumerism, food industry, household waste, environmentalism, resource management, choice editing
language
English
additional info
Mentioned by:

Sydsvenska dagbladet
2012-12-08
http://cdn.sds.se/pdf/20121208/c1/sds_121208_e1_c_20539.pdf

CSR i Praktiken
2012-12-06
http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bd44318f74814582878679b11&id=d37d55bf68&e=1f423c03c8

Hushållningssällskapet
http://mindrematsvinn.nu/?p=18227
id
3437018
date added to LUP
2013-01-31 10:27:06
date last changed
2013-01-31 10:27:06
@misc{3437018,
  abstract     = {In a world where more people must survive on fewer resources, food waste has become greatly focused. Waste means that the entire production has been unnecessary. It is an economic loss for a company but also for society at large. Moreover, the food chain causes an environmental impact, not least from a climate perspective. The various actors certainly try to reduce their own losses but because consumer waste means increased sales, it is difficult to find incentives that change directions.
Many researchers and organisations work to identify waste. However, there are communicative deficiencies in the food industry on how to tackle the problem as well as what roles and responsibilities the different actors should have. Through an environmental and resource perspective, this thesis focuses on the unnecessary food waste from Swedish households. Interviews with a selection of food industry stakeholders have resulted in a bright problem picture. Further, it proposes approaches and future solutions.
Because food throwing is optional, knowledge is considered to be one of the key solutions. Educative actions for children and adults should be given priority in different parts of society and the actors have some responsibility to help households towards sustainable actions. The lack of knowledge and distance from food production means that people are unsure of what real food quality is. Therefore, much food becomes unnecessarily discarded. Already implemented campaigns have been targeted at specifically interested consumers. It will never make a big difference. If players work together for creating a common and public message, there are opportunities to have great impact when it reaches to the many people.
Despite informative measures, there are strong arguments showing that political and addressed instruments are the right solutions for achieving long-term results. Lack of adequate incentives prevents the food chain from helping the consumer to reduce its waste. Therefore, governmental organisations should send cooperation invites to the food chain actors for discussing changes in the systematic purchase patterns that exist today. Retail’s influence over consumers is large and it may be unclear who creates the demand. If actors start to communicate with each other, there are golden chances to make consumers purchase the right products, which end up in the stomach instead of in the trash.},
  author       = {Westregård, Henrik},
  keyword      = {food waste,sustainability,consumerism,food industry,household waste,environmentalism,resource management,choice editing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Why don’t you eat your food? A study about cooperation in the Swedish food value chain to reduce household food waste},
  year         = {2012},
}