Abstract

PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to systematically review and critically examine food losses and waste quantification in supply chain, especially in studies that tackle all the supply chain activities in a real context.Design/methodology/approachThis work employed a systematic literature review methodology on the extant literature focusing on peer-reviewed journal articles published from 2000 to 2019.FindingsA systematic analysis of 117 articles reveals that downstream supply chains are studied to a greater extent than upstream supply chains, with an emphasis on consumer waste. The findings also highlight more than half of the articles focus on only one supply chain activity. In terms of the methodologies, surveys and modelling methods are the most used to measure food losses and wastes, adopt monetary, carbon emission and calorific metrics. This study highlights that while food losses and waste research remains a relevant field of study, it has yet to been fully explored.Research limitations/implicationsThe main limit is the adoption of a systematic review method for food losses and waste quantification in supply chain.Practical implicationsThe results suggest that supply chain managers should invest in acquiring more knowledge about food losses in the global network. Upstream supply chains should be more studied and integrated with the downstream supply chains. Using combined direct and indirect methods has the potential to deal with the contradictions of quantification, the lack of data and reduce losses over time and space.Originality/valueBased on this review as the first one focusing exclusively on quantification of food losses and waste in supply chain context, the authors develop an aspiring research agenda that proposes opportunities for future research.HeadingsWe analyse 117 studies addressing food losses and waste quantification.Downstream food supply chains are more studied than upstream food supply chains.Case studies of food supply chains in developed countries are more prolific.The main metric to quantify food losses and waste is weight.

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