Food Losses in Supply Chains for Fruits, Vegetables and Potatoes between Field and Retail Shelf in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany

Food losses occur for many reasons at all stages of supply chains for fruits, vegetables and potatoes. They cause immense economic, environmental and social costs – not only in developing countries but also in developed countries. According to the European Commission, about 90 million tonnes of food are wasted annually in Europe alone. However, particularly for the early stages of supply chains for fruits, vegetables and potatoes there is still a lack of reliable data. Thus, one objective of this study is to contribute to the quantification of food losses between field and retail, where the main focus is set on potatoes, apples, carrots, strawberries and asparagus. Furthermore, neither reasons why products are removed from the supply chains nor their alternative uses are fully examined yet. This is why, the study takes a look on those issues, too. Results are based on data from an online survey among producers of fruits, vegetables and potatoes in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany and on interviews with producers and other supply chain experts. Findings suggest that the products’ size and form, their storage capabilities and food safety issues have big impacts on food losses. Despite a small sample size, these findings are in line with recent studies.

Schiefer, Gerhard
Rickert, Ursula
Deiters, Jivka
Issue Date:
Jun 29 2017
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
International European Forum, February 13-17, 2017, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria, 2017, Number 1
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 Record created 2017-06-29, last modified 2018-01-23

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