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Bananas are some of the worst food waste culprits, study shows

Date:
January 30, 2018
Source:
Karlstad University
Summary:
A recent study shows that seven products account for almost half the fruit and vegetables wasted by retailers. Potentially, food waste can be drastically limited by focusing on these products.
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FULL STORY

A study done at Karlstad University shows that seven products account for almost half the fruit and vegetables wasted by retailers. Potentially, food waste can be drastically limited by focusing on these products.

"Retailers may profit by allocating more staff hours to measures that lead to reduced fruit and vegetable waste, thereby saving money and the environment," says Lisa Mattsson at Karlstad University.

Today food waste involves not only wasted natural resources, but also financial losses. A growing population means that all actors in society -- business, government agencies and citizens -- have to handle food better to decrease the amounts that are wasted.

A few products account for half of the waste costs

Less food is wasted in retail than in households, but retailers also waste large amounts of food each year. In this study, the fruit and vegetable waste of three large retailers was analysed based on quantity, economic costs and the impact on the climate. The results show that seven categories of fruit and vegetable account for most of the waste as regards quantity, costs and the impact on the climate. These seven products are bananas, apples, tomatoes, salad, sweet peppers, pears and grapes. Together, these products account for almost 50% of what food waste cost the retailers. Focusing on decreasing the waste of these products could therefore potentially have great effects.

Waste reduction strategies are profitable

Most of the costs associated with food waste, around 85%, are related to the products themselves. The cost of waste management, such as emptying and removing waste, amounts to around 6%, while the staff hours spent removing products from the shelves, recording waste and disposing of products represent another 9% of the total cost. Since staff hours are a relatively small part in comparison to the cost of the products themselves, increasing staff hours to reduce food waste has much potential. A cost-benefit analysis showed that the costs incurred to double the amount of time staff spend on waste reduction measures, would be the equivalent of a 10% reduction in fruit and vegetable waste.

The study on the waste of fruit and vegetables by retailers was published online in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling. The authors are Lisa Mattsson, Helén Williams, and Jonas Berghel, researchers at Karlstad University. Read the full article here: Waste of fresh fruit and vegetables at retailers in Sweden -- Measuring and calculation of mass, economic cost and climate impact, Resources, Conservation and Recycling.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Karlstad University. Original written by Carina Olsson. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lisa Mattsson, Helén Williams, Jonas Berghel. Waste of fresh fruit and vegetables at retailers in Sweden – Measuring and calculation of mass, economic cost and climate impact. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 2018; 130: 118 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.10.037

Cite This Page:

Karlstad University. "Bananas are some of the worst food waste culprits, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180130091407.htm>.
Karlstad University. (2018, January 30). Bananas are some of the worst food waste culprits, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 21, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180130091407.htm
Karlstad University. "Bananas are some of the worst food waste culprits, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180130091407.htm (accessed July 21, 2024).

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