OM Forum — Reducing Food Waste: An Operations Management Research Agenda
37 Pages Posted: 1 May 2021 Last revised: 16 Sep 2021
Date Written: August 30, 2021
It is estimated that one third of the food produced worldwide is wasted. This has been recognized as a critical problem by the United Nations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the European Union, and industry groups because of its implications for the environment, conservation of resources, and global hunger. The problem of food waste represents a significant research opportunity for the Operations Man- agement (OM) community because it is closely connected with OM topics and methodologies in supply chain technology and management, incentives and coordination, business model innovation, and behavioral operations. Research in food waste can lead to novel academic contributions and have meaningful impact on practice. This article describes the problem of food waste, identifies its root causes and implications, argues for the importance of research in this area in OM, and develops a research agenda for OM scholars to contribute to the theory and practice of food waste reduction. The agenda is organized around five themes: 1) supply chain technology, 2) supply chain logistics, 3) incentives and coordination in the supply chain, 4) business model innovation, and 5) behavioral operations. Thus, this article aims to stimulate research on food waste in our field.
Keywords: food waste, sustainable operations, supply chain management
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