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Special Issue "Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Food".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gaetano Chinnici
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Via Santa Sofia no 98-100, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: consumption economics; cost-benefit analysis; renewable energy; circular economy; sustainability of productions
Dr. Giuseppe Antonio Di Vita
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco (Torino), Italy
Interests: consumer behavior; agro-food marketing; agricultural economics; organic and sustainable productions; economics of healthy food products; novel foods markets; wine marketing and business; quality management in food industry; rural development; business and management of agro-food firms; aquaculture and fishery systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The sustainability of agricultural systems whose ability to produce agricultural raw materials is necessary for human sustenance and has been examined using multiple related approaches. Nowadays, agriculture has been asked to satisfy the increasing food demand in emerging economies while also satisfying the demand for environmentally sustainable products in countries with the most advanced economies. Production systems are required to adopt sustainable approaches in the process of combining production factors.

The concept of sustainability takes on particular importance not only in the context of the production of raw materials—from fresh food processing to food consumption (i.e., from farm to fork)—but is also relevant in the management of waste and byproducts derived from primary production activities. This issue, as linked to the sustainability of agricultural production systems, is fundamental since such waste is often considered useless and, as such, discarded. The accumulation of agricultural waste can result in negative effects for human health and safety as well as for the environment as a whole.

Sustainable management of this waste and the byproducts can become a resource for agriculture in terms of improving the economic conditions of rural and urban areas as well as in improving the environmental balances related to agricultural production processes. In addition, the study of consumer behaviour related to food waste and the acceptance of food products resulting from the recovery of industrial byproducts could contribute to more efficient waste management, thus allowing for a reduction in anthropic impacts and pressure on the environment.

Main Topics

  • The management of food waste as differentiation tool in food industry;
  • Factors and drivers influencing companies’ willingness to reduce food waste;
  • Willingness to accept the re-use of industrial byproducts by food companies;
  • Novel approaches to sustainable consumer behaviour;
  • Sustainable foods and social media marketing;
  • The consumer acceptance of waste-based food products.

Dr. Gaetano Chinnici
Dr. Giuseppe Antonio Di Vita
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agricultural systems
  • Management
  • Food waste
  • Sustainability
  • Acceptance of waste-based food products.

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
How the Extended Theory of Planned Behavior Can Be Applied in the Research of the Influencing Factors of Food Waste in Restaurants: Learning from Serbian Urban Centers
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9236; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169236 - 17 Aug 2021
Viewed by 702
Abstract
This study is based on the general notion that restaurants should find more responsible solutions to dispose of the large amount of food that is not consumed. Moreover, the food wasted has great environmental, social and financial impacts, and yet this issue is [...] Read more.
This study is based on the general notion that restaurants should find more responsible solutions to dispose of the large amount of food that is not consumed. Moreover, the food wasted has great environmental, social and financial impacts, and yet this issue is still insufficiently presented in contemporary studies on food waste management. This paper applied the extended theory of planned behavior as a theoretical framework to elicit consumers’ behavior concerning food waste. A standard paper and pen survey recorded quantitative data provided by 221 respondents. The findings reported the following: (1) personal attitudes toward food waste positively affect an individual’s intention not to waste food; (2) perceived behavioral control positively affects an individual’s intention not to waste food; (3) the intention not to waste food negatively affects self-reported food waste behavior; (4) negative environmental attitudes negatively affect intention not to waste food; (5) hygiene-based food waste negatively affects perceived behavioral control. This study contributes to understanding consumers’ food waste behavior in restaurants and might have practical implications in the hospitality sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Domestic Food Waste and Covid-19 Concern: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behaviour
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8366; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158366 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 674
Abstract
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic rapidly and dramatically disrupted household behaviours in almost all areas and, among these, eating behaviours and daily food patterns have also been radically altered. All reported changes have potential effects in terms of food waste, which is a global [...] Read more.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic rapidly and dramatically disrupted household behaviours in almost all areas and, among these, eating behaviours and daily food patterns have also been radically altered. All reported changes have potential effects in terms of food waste, which is a global problem that mainly occurs at household level. Many scholars attempted to understand the antecedents of food waste in the framework of Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB). In this paper we follow this strain of research by focussing on two different behaviours, suggested by the Waste Framework Directive of the EU, namely (a) reducing servings and (b) using leftovers, which may be predicted by the intention to reduce food waste. An online questionnaire containing the key constructs of the TPB and the concern towards the pandemic was administered to a sample of 201 Italian consumers. Results show that the TPB model was confirmed for both behaviours while the Covid-19 concern had no direct effect. However, in the case of portion reduction, there is a significant interaction between concern and intention not to waste food. That is, the effect of intention on reducing servings is increasing as the level of concern increases. Therefore, some indications on how to address food waste policies are drawn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Circular Economy Strategies: Use of Corn Waste to Develop Biomaterials
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8356; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158356 - 27 Jul 2021
Viewed by 590
Abstract
The circular economy is a process through which elements that have already been used are reincorporated and given a second use so that they can reduce the consumption of virgin raw materials. This article shows how, from the reuse of an agro-industrial waste [...] Read more.
The circular economy is a process through which elements that have already been used are reincorporated and given a second use so that they can reduce the consumption of virgin raw materials. This article shows how, from the reuse of an agro-industrial waste such as corn husks, a biomaterial can be developed that manages to standardize the properties of materials such as paper and cardboard, thus allowing the development of single-use products that replace the excessive expense of materials such as polymers. In this article, it will be possible to show how from the process of transforming an agro-industrial waste into a raw material base, it is possible not only to reduce the number of raw materials discarded but also to redesign a product that not only contributes to the environmental component but also facilitates the processes of economic sustainability when generating products. As a practical case, a comparison is made between traditional fast-food packaging and how from these, a new packaging proposal can be generated, which starts from the principles of circular economy and complements sustainable design processes to make more efficient manufacturing of the mentioned product. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Regulatory Elements on the Circular Economy: Driving into the Agri-Food System
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8350; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158350 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 704
Abstract
In the transition from linear production systems, unsustainable from the point of view of resources, to a model that finds strength in environmental, social and economic sustainability, the circular economy paradigm is the foundation that facilitates the planetary agro-ecological transition. The European Union [...] Read more.
In the transition from linear production systems, unsustainable from the point of view of resources, to a model that finds strength in environmental, social and economic sustainability, the circular economy paradigm is the foundation that facilitates the planetary agro-ecological transition. The European Union has taken a number of steps (including the Circular Economy Package of Directives) shaping circularity as a wide-ranging driver measure involving many sectors. The paper intends to provide a regulatory framework on the current general situation regarding circularity in European Union, in order to extrapolate and give evidence to the aspects that intersect the agri-food sector. This is not only because they are poorly addressed in the literature, but also because there is a lack of regulatory instruments on the circular economy specifically addressing this area of interest. For this purpose, the analysis focuses on waste and residue/scrap management issues, recognized by law as by-products and end-of-waste status, as they are covered by circular economy legislation and as they can be applied to the agri-food sector. The latter allow the implementation of circularity strategies in the agri-food sector and, given the numerousness of production chains and the peculiarities of each of them, various regeneration and/or reuse processes of specific resources may be depicted. The intent is to provide useful knowledge on how to implement sustainable waste management, also proposing a concrete case on a by-product of olive oil processing, through which it is possible to highlight how the correct application of regulations favors the adoption of circular economic and management models in the firms involved, as well as informing the relevant economic operators on the possible profiles of legal liability that may arise from insufficient knowledge. Furthermore, this paper delves into the European Green Deal’s Strategy as it enriches the circular economy paradigm with new facets. NextGenerationEU and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan financially support this strategy in the aftermath of the socioeconomic crisis from COVID-19 in the EU Member States. This is in order to achieve the objective of achieving the agro-ecological transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Consumer and Food Product Determinants of Food Wasting: A Case Study on Chicken Meat
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7027; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137027 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 679
Abstract
Food wastage is an environmental concern worldwide, particularly regarding households. This study aims to identify household food wasting segments and to assess the relationship between both consumer and food product determinants and the identified segments. Data were collected through a consumer survey of [...] Read more.
Food wastage is an environmental concern worldwide, particularly regarding households. This study aims to identify household food wasting segments and to assess the relationship between both consumer and food product determinants and the identified segments. Data were collected through a consumer survey of several packaged chicken products (n = 256; 2019) in a retail setting in Belgium. Of the participants, 36% reported never wasting any chicken meat. The average waste percentages were small, 1.1–3.1%, depending on the packaged product, although they were not significantly different between products. Participants with low levels of self-reported chicken waste were significantly older, without children and/or unemployed. Moreover, their households scored better for household routines and skills. They also agreed more to intend not to waste food, experienced a stronger injunctive norm and perceived consumer effectiveness. Additionally, lower chicken product wastage was discovered for households purchasing organic products and products with both a lower food convenience grade and shorter shelf life. Some relationships between household wastage and food product determinants contrast with expectations based on literature. The cause can be that some determinants are more related to food wasting (e.g., when participants buy organic products) than others (e.g., the products’ shelf life). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Drivers and Determinants of Food Waste Generation in Restaurants Serving Mediterranean Mezze-Type Cuisine
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6358; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116358 - 03 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1016
Abstract
Food waste from the food service and hospitality industry is increasing, especially in Mezze serving restaurants, where a variety of dishes are usually served. To date, information on the factors affecting food waste generation in restaurants is scarce. This study aimed to identify [...] Read more.
Food waste from the food service and hospitality industry is increasing, especially in Mezze serving restaurants, where a variety of dishes are usually served. To date, information on the factors affecting food waste generation in restaurants is scarce. This study aimed to identify the drivers and determinants of food waste generation while dining out at restaurants serving Mezze-type cuisine. According to the results from a convenience sample of 496 restaurant clientele, gender, age, and marital status did not affect food waste generation. Diners in both low and high price range restaurants waste above the grand mean compared to middle-range ones. Waste generation decreased significantly as the number of diners per table increased. However, ordering water-pipe, alcohol, or more dishes contributed significantly to food waste generation. As food waste is not the outcome of a single behavior, our study puts food waste generation drivers and determinants while dining out in perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
Article
Assessment of Tomato Peels Suitable for Producing Biomethane within the Context of Circular Economy: A GIS-Based Model Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105559 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 708
Abstract
Biomass is seen as one of the most dominant future renewable energy sources. In detail, agro-industrial by-products represent a cheap, renewable, and abundant feedstock useful for several new products, including biochemical, biomaterials, and above all biogas, which are taking on an ever-increasing role [...] Read more.
Biomass is seen as one of the most dominant future renewable energy sources. In detail, agro-industrial by-products represent a cheap, renewable, and abundant feedstock useful for several new products, including biochemical, biomaterials, and above all biogas, which are taking on an ever-increasing role in Italy. In this context, the tomato chain was analysed aiming at estimating the amount of processed tomato and the related waste production as a new suitable resource for producing biofuel as a new frontier within the context of a circular economy. Due the importance of the tomato industry, this research aims at filling gaps in the knowledge of the production and yield of the by-products that are useful as biomass for energy use in those territorial areas where the biomethane sector is still developing. This aim could be relevant for planning the sustainable development of the biomethane sector by reducing both soil consumption for dedicated energy crops and GHG emissions coming from the biomass logistic supply. The achieved results show the localization of territorial areas highly characterized by this kind of biomass. Therefore, it would be desirable that the future policies of development in the biomethane sector consider the availability and the distribution of these suitable biomasses within the territory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Article
Quantification of On-Farm Pomegranate Fruit Postharvest Losses and Waste, and Implications on Sustainability Indicators: South African Case Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5168; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095168 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
While there is a growing body of scientific knowledge on improved techniques and procedures for the production and handling of quality pomegranate fruit to meet market demand, little is known about the magnitude of losses that occur at the farm and post-farmgate. This [...] Read more.
While there is a growing body of scientific knowledge on improved techniques and procedures for the production and handling of quality pomegranate fruit to meet market demand, little is known about the magnitude of losses that occur at the farm and post-farmgate. This study revealed the amount of pomegranate fruit lost on the farm and the causes of loss and estimated the impacts of losses. The direct measurement method, which involved sorting and counting of individual fruit, was used since physical identification of the causes of fruit losses on individual fruit was necessary for data collection. Furthermore, qualitative data were collected by physical observation during harvesting and interaction with farm workers. At the case study farm in Wellington, Western Cape Province of South Africa, a range of 15.3–20.1% of the harvested crop was considered lost, as the quality fell below marketable standards for retail sales. This amounted to an average of 117.76 tonnes of pomegranate fruit harvested per harvest season in the case study farm, which is removed from the value chain and sold mainly at a low value for juicing and other purposes and translates to an estimated R10.5 million ($618,715.34) economic loss to the farmer. Environmental factors are the main causes of on-farm fruit losses. In the three pomegranate cultivars studied, sunburn and crack were identified as the leading cause of fruit loss, accounting for about 43.9% of all on-farm fruit losses. The lost fiber, carbohydrate, protein, iron and ascorbic acid contents associated with lost fruit were estimated to meet the daily recommended nutrition intake of 2, 9, 4, 2 and 24 people, respectively. Strategies to control and reduce pomegranate fruit losses and waste at the farm level should focus on environmental factors and mechanical damage since they account for the highest sources of fruit losses. This will ensure improved revenue to farmers, sustainable use of natural resources, reduction of the environmental impacts of the fruit industry, and more availability of quality fruit for nutritional security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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Review

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Review
Circular Economy Models in Agro-Food Systems: A Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3453; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063453 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2276
Abstract
Around the world, interest is growing in the circular economy in response to the current unsustainable model of production and consumption based on increased use and depletion of resources. This paper provides a review of the academic literature on the circular economy in [...] Read more.
Around the world, interest is growing in the circular economy in response to the current unsustainable model of production and consumption based on increased use and depletion of resources. This paper provides a review of the academic literature on the circular economy in agri-food systems, with the aims of understanding its main characteristics and perspectives, and summarizing and discussing the literature in this field. This review provides a deeper understanding of the opportunities provided by the circular economy as a solution to the current need to reduce the environmental impacts of business-as-usual economic systems and the state of the art of the circular economy in the academic debate. The results are discussed based on the chosen topic-core investigated in this review: business model and organization management, food loss and waste along the supply chain, analytical tools for the circular economy, stakeholder acceptance of the circular economy, and mitigation strategies and political approach. The findings show the need for the implementation of cleaner production models and consequent increases in stakeholder responsibilities and awareness, from both producers and consumers, as well as the need for the implementation of suitable policies and tools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Food Waste: Firm Strategies and Consumer Behaviour)
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