Food waste reduction in supply chains through innovations: a review

Lusine Aramyan*, Matthew Grainger, Katja Logatcheva, Simone Piras, Marco Setti, Gavin Stewart, Matteo Vittuari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Agri-food supply chains are facing a number of challenges, which cause inefficiencies resulting in the waste of natural and economic resources, and in negative environmental and social impacts. Food waste (FW) is a result of such inefficiencies and supply chain actors search for economically viable innovations to prevent and reduce it. This study aims to analyse the drivers and the barriers that affect the decision of supply chain operators to adopt innovations (technological – TI, organisational – OI and marketing – MI) to reduce FW. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis was carried out using a four-step approach that included: a literature review to identify factors affecting the decision to adopt innovations; analysis of FW drivers and reduction possibilities along agri-food supply chains through innovations; mapping the results of Steps 1 and 2 and deriving conclusions regarding the factors affecting the adoption of innovations to reduce and prevent FW. Findings: Results show that different types of innovations have a high potential in reducing and preventing FW along the supply chain; however, they still must be economically feasible to be adopted by decision makers in the food supply chain. TI, OI and MI are often interrelated and can trigger each other. When it comes to a combination of different types of innovation to reduce and prevent FW, a good example of combining TI, OI and MI may be observed in the retail sector in Europe. Here, innovative smartphone apps (TI) to promote the sale of products nearing their expiration dates (OI in terms of organising the sales differently and MI in terms of marketing it differently) were developed and adopted via different retailing channels, leading to the creation of a new business model. Practical implications: This study analyses the drivers of FW generation together with the factors affecting the decision to adopt innovations to reduce it and provides solutions to supply chain operators to prevent and reduce FW through different types of innovations. Originality/value: Literature has not systematically addressed innovations aiming at the reduction of FW yet. This paper provides a comprehensive literature review of the determinants of innovation adoption and offers a novel view on the problem of FW reduction by means of innovation, by linking factors affecting the decision to innovate with FW drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-492
JournalMeasuring Business Excellence
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Food waste
  • Marketing innovation
  • Organisational innovation
  • Supply chain
  • Technological innovation


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