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The Social Production of Food Waste at the Retail-Consumption Interface

1
Département de stratégie, responsabilité sociale et environnementale, Université du Québec à Montréal, Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
2
Chaire de recherche UQAM sur la transition écologique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3P8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3834; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143834
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 28 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 July 2019 / Published: 13 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Systems – The Importance of Consumption)
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PDF [295 KB, uploaded 13 July 2019]

Abstract

A major problem throughout the world, food waste is an issue that must be addressed not only by all actors in the agri-food chain but also without a silo mentality. To examine this problem, this article considers the interfaces between the stages of the agri-food chain, by emphasizing the interconnectivity of the different links in the chain, and focusing on the interface between retail distribution and consumption. We show that food waste is socially produced through the interactions and practices of the different actors within food systems. The study presented in this article results from a collaboration research project with two organizations involved in the food waste debate. The data analyzed are derived from an online survey of 1026 Quebec consumers and from 14 semi-directed interviews with retail distribution merchants in the Montreal area, Canada. By identifying, describing and analyzing the consumption and commercial and logistical management practices that contribute to food waste, our analysis demonstrates the existence of four symbolic processes that generate food waste at the retail–consumption interface: the economization of waste, the construction of edibility, the construction of freshness, and the moralization of waste. We argue that these processes should be considered when designing solutions to food waste. View Full-Text
Keywords: food waste; food chain; food system; retail; consumption; social practices; constructivism food waste; food chain; food system; retail; consumption; social practices; constructivism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Audet, R.; Brisebois, É. The Social Production of Food Waste at the Retail-Consumption Interface. Sustainability 2019, 11, 3834.

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