Drivers of food losses and their implications for the agro-food chain

Selected case studies

Authored by: Matteo Vittuari , Andrea Segrè , Luca Falasconi , Simone Piras , Laura Brenes-Peralta , Laura García Herrero , Marco Pagani , Fabio De Menna

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429489075-25

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Abstract

Food losses and waste (FLW) represent a major challenge for food systems sustainability and a growing concern in the political agenda of national governments and international organizations. This interest is driven primarily by the interrelated implications FLW have with food security, human health, economic development, and ecosystems. The staggering amount of food waste currently generated along production and supply chains exacerbates global food system challenges such as world population growth, change of dietary habits, energy intensity of agri-food systems, and food supply vulnerability due to climate change. From a life-cycle perspective, food waste represents, beyond a missed opportunity to feed the growing world population, a huge pressure on natural capital both in terms of natural resources consumption (e.g. fossil energy, water, fish stocks, agricultural land) environmental pollution (water, air, soil), greenhouse gas emissions, ecosystem resilience, and biodiversity loss. This chapter aims to analyze food systems sustainability through the lens of the interrelated implications and impacts of FLW on production and consumption. A specific focus will be devoted to rural areas, both as spaces where losses might occur during production and as communities where social innovation processes and networks can potentially take place to prevent or reuse FLW.

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