Key characteristics and success factors of supply chain initiatives tackling consumer-related food waste – A multiple case study

Jessica Aschemann-Witzel*, Ilona E. De Hooge, Harald Rohm, Anne Normann, Marilia Bonzanini Bossle, Alice Grønhøj, Marije Oostindjer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


Food waste accounts for a considerable share of the environmental impact of the food sector. Therefore, strategies that aim to reduce food waste have great potential to improve sustainability of the agricultural and food supply chains. Consumer-related food waste is a complex issue that needs collaboration between various supply chain actors and sector stakeholders. Although a range of initiatives from various actors already exists internationally, there is still a lack of knowledge on which lessons can be derived from such cases. The current multiple case study provides insights into how to successfully design future actions, by analysing common and distinct key success factors in 26 existing initiatives to reduce consumer-related food waste. The findings reveal that collaboration between stakeholders, timing and sequence of initiatives, competencies that the initiative is built on, and a large scale of operations are key success factors. Success factors are identified for the primary design, for the development and maintenance phase, and for reaching out to consumers. There are three general types of initiatives that differ in their aims and characteristics: information and capacity building, redistribution, and retail and supply chain alteration. The first type focuses most strongly on motivating consumer food waste avoidance behaviour and strengthening consumer abilities, while the second and third focus primarily on altering consumer food choice context, but combine this with aspects of raising awareness. Recommendations are derived for future initiatives which should take inspiration from existing initiatives, especially considering the right partners, competencies involved, timing the start of the initiative right, and aim to soon achieve a large scale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-45
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Case study
  • Consumers
  • Food waste
  • Initiatives
  • Success factors
  • Supply chain


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