LEVERAGING SUPPLY CHAIN IDEOLOGIES AND SOLUTIONS TO REDUCE FARM-TO-TABLE FOOD WASTE IN THE UNITED STATES

Open Access
Author:
Burlingame, Karen Lisa
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Novack, Thesis Supervisor
  • John Spychalski, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • food
  • supply chain
  • waste
  • sustainability
  • landfill
  • farm-to-table
  • consumer
  • agriculture
  • distribution
  • processing
  • grocery
  • food waste
  • unsustainable
  • transportation
Abstract:
The United States is in the midst of a food waste epidemic, as daunting and unsustainable quantities of edible, nutritious food end up in landfills each year. From farm-to-table, stakeholders at each stage are partially accountable for wasteful practices that strain earth’s resources and leave millions hungry. The beginning of this thesis seeks to pinpoint and explore processes and factors that commonly drive food waste: farming, packaging, quality, forecasting, shelf life, transportation, convenience, and more. For each assignable cause, qualitative research has been conducted to discuss and analyze potential supply chain solutions to reduce food loss. Research findings strongly indicate that supply chain concepts and ideologies can be an integral tool to mitigate waste and benefit the triple bottom line of the economy, society, and the environment. Executive interviews have been conducted with top-tier companies to provide insight into best practices and strategies used by food sustainability leaders. Findings unveil that the companies are making significant contributions to food conservation but also have strong potential for improvement. The closing chapter addresses potential challenges to implementing the waste reduction techniques and suggests avenues for future quantitative research.