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.


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