Drivers and reduction solutions of food waste in the Chinese food service business

Food waste generated from the food service sector is associated with significant social, ecological and economic impacts. There is lack of knowledge on status quo, drives and solutions for food waste in food service sector despite its importance. In order to understand and identify key issues of food waste and find potential solutions for food waste minimization in food service business, both a questionnaire and a qualitative study were conducted using China as a case country. 228 questionnaires were collected and in a subsequent workshop 51 representatives from 19 enterprises and other organizations joined. The results show that more than half (57%) of the respondents pay no attention to food waste issue, while majority of the respondents (86%) pay attention to regulations and policy on waste issues, suggesting that these instruments would be efficient tools to take actions on reducing food waste. The workshop identified 21 drivers with division of different stages including pre-kitchen (upstream processing, procurement and storage), kitchen and post-kitchen (consumption & communication with consumers), which is then categorized according to the focus (including 13 internal drivers derived from foods service business itself and 8 external factors caused by other parties). 33 possible solutions were proposed for food waste mitigation and reduction, among which 25 were directly for Chinese food service business internal improvement such as food waste management system upgrading, staff capacity raising, innovative actions, more tasteful dishes and adjusted potion size from different angles or for the joint activities by food service business and other relevant stakeholders like consumers interaction, clear communicated procurement standards with upstream suppliers. This paper pinpointed some interesting findings under the Chinese context, such as lacking of food waste measurement, considerable amount of upstream processing waste resulted from combination of unclear standards and buyers’ privilege”, noticeable food waste from central kitchen and decoration/free snacks food waste etc.. This paper has not only identified the current status quo of the Chinese food service business food waste, but also summarized systematically the potential drivers from the business with specific division of different stages and gave out possible solutions, all directly from the staffs’ opinions. The findings would be referential to global food waste issues under similar situation.

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