“Analyzing the topic is the poverty in my country,

“Analyzing & controlling food waste inside
supermarkets”

A solution for giving the products to
charity/people in need.

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Case study: INTEREX Supermarket in Peja/Kosovo

Bjeshka
Gusinja

Department of Social Media and Web
Technologies

Linnaeus University, Sweden

[email protected]

Name of the supervisor: Marc Jansen

Equivalent
of proposal (motivation, background, defined research question and/or
hypotheses)

 

MOTIVATION

 

Currently, in Peja/Kosovo currently are
operating 4 big supermarkets and approximately 10 to 15 mini markets. One of
these 4 supermarkets is INTEREX- that is part of the Intermarche group from
France, which will be the case study for this project. The motivation
for this study came from two strong sides. First, as a worker for a continuous
five years at the INTEREX supermarket, I’ve been facing daily with the problem
of food waste, and one of the most important points that we discussed in almost
all of our managerial meetings was how to reduce the amount of food that is
being wasted. We tried many ways to reduce such problems, such as promotions of
products, different positioning of products (and others which will be explained
in details later), but never had satisfactory results because the problem keeps
being repeated. Living in a time when technology affected almost every part of
our lives and seeing the power of how it can ease our living process, I chose
to do a research in this area and find how it can help solve some if not all of
the above-mentioned problems.

The second side which made me chose the topic is the
poverty in my country, something that we face every single day! There are a lot
of people living in bad conditions, who sometimes pass days without even having
the chance to eat some food. According to the World
Bank Report “Southeast Europe Economic Development Report”, the rate
of unemployment in Kosovo is around 45.4%, while according to ASK, the
rate of unemployment in Kosovo is around 35.1%: urban 28.5%, rural 40.1%, male
32%, female 44.4%, youth (age: 15-24 years old) 60.2%. Furthermore, on a survey
about labor force realized by BB & ASK & UKaid, it is stated that:
“Only 23.9% are employed”. While from UNDP reports, Kosovo has more than 43%
unemployed, from who 34% are in poverty with less than 1.42 euro per day, and
18% in extreme poverty with less than 0.94 euro per day.

Something that I see daily is a group of children
waiting at the entrance door of the supermarket, who ask always for money with
the intention to buy clothes/food or they directly ask for food to eat. Also,
the same group of children are always present and waiting at the time when we
throw the food at the waste container, who jump at it to take the food as soon
as we are away.

Seeing food being thrown and seeing people who are missing
the food, made me want to try a solution for their common problem (losing food
& needing food).

In my living town – Peja, there are charity
organizations who take care of people in need, providing them with food,
clothes and other living essentials. Until now I had the chance to meet one of
them – “Red Cross”, and they confirmed that they never took any food from
supermarkets as a charity donation.

The main challenge of the project is to see how we
can use media technology to connect supermarkets and charity organizations so
the food being wasted in supermarkets can help the people in need.

 

BACKGROUND

 

According to Food and Agricultural Organization of
the United Nations (2011), approximately one-third of the food produced in the
world is wasted, corresponding to 1.3 billion tons of food waste every year. As
a problem, it gained attention from researchers, media, politicians and
different companies (Eriksson, M., 2015). Especially food waste at supermarkets is one of the problems which
was treated mostly. According to 3, supermarkets
generate very little food waste from their stores and depots. For example, in
2013, only 1.3% of all food waste came from the main supermarkets 3. This small
percentage is because it has been a lot of work on different processes on how
to minimize the amount of food that is being wasted inside supermarkets. However
the above-mentioned statistics of poverty in my town, and the amount of food
being thrown at INTEREX supermarket (however small it might be), could result in
a big help for charities.

  

According to Eriksson, M. (2015), common reasons for
food being wasted in supermarkets are expired shelf-life or visual defects that
make food unsellable, low demand, short shelf-life, unsuitable packaging or
storage conditions and inappropriate handling by staff and customers. Products
are considered unsellable if they have passed their best-before or use-by date.

Food
can be wasted for different reasons, which makes the food waste issue difficult
to solve with one single solution, therefore, different problem-solving fields
are addressed. The best first step is source reduction which prevents the waste that
leads to more efficient supply chains and savings to companies (Harig, 2016). Furthermore,
Harig explains that another effective way is creating food donation programs
that allow retailers to take advantage of incentives like the food donation tax
credit. A number of retailers are also taking advantage of anaerobic digesters
to help generate energy to run distribution centers or even selling the
leftover product as fertilizer. In addition, food wasted can be reused as animal food, food that could be given to
people in need, used for industrial uses etc. This is also explained in The US
Food Recovery Hierarchy shown in the below picture.

The Food Recovery Hierarchy developed by the USEPA (2015).

 

It separates the prevention stage into two
sublevels. The more preferred sublevel is source reduction and the less
preferred sublevel is feeding hungry people.

The studies that are made recently are more focused
in details of the main factors that cause food waste, the quantities that are
being lost, and see how these quantities can be donated to charities so the
problem could be reduced.  (Gustavsson
& Stage, 2011; Lebersorger & Schneider, 2014). But there also has been
a big effort on how to reuse the food that is still okay to use.  For example across the UK, unsold food that is
still safe to eat is being donated to local community organizations. These are groups
of people who go to the store and collect fresh fruit and vegetables that would
previously have been wasted during the week 5.

Nowadays, food thrown
has been taken to another level; that in some countries it started being chased
by the law. Recently France prohibited by law food thrown without donating them
to charities 6. Everything started with a huge petition on Change.org, from
a municipal councilor in Courbevoie, which resulted in a decision that France
introduced a new law requiring supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity.
But it is not just simple as that, since the food that is being wasted, should
really pass through big control in order not to represent a risk for people
that will reuse it. Feeding hungry people is also limited by the fact
that food waste can only be donated to charity if it is surplus food still fit
for human consumption (Papargyropoulou et al., 2014).

According to the Food
Research Collaboration publication, a large-scale system of food donation could
actually have negative health and social consequences for the groups of
citizens that it is intended to help 7.

 

Some of the best projects realized within the
topic that will be further explored are the ones that are shortly explained
below:

 

 

FARESHARE

Take fresh
in date and good to eat surplus from the food industry, which would otherwise
go to waste. They reach 1,300 towns and cities through 20 Regional Centers,
which can be found from Aberdeen to Brighton. 6,273 of them include homeless
hostels, children breakfast clubs, lunch clubs for older people, domestic
violence refuges, and community cafés. Last year the group redistributed enough
food for 28.6 million meals and managed 13.552 tons of food. http://fareshare.org.uk/

NO FOOD
WASTE

The effort of creating applications to donate the
collected food resulted in the development of some apps which are really useful
and helped a lot of different groups of people. One of them is “No food waste”.
It is a mission that intends to end food waste and hunger, where the worker
works with their main goal to “Set the World Hunger Free”. They recover surplus
food from different organizations with a bigger amount of people, such as
parties, weddings and donate the collected food to needy and hungry people.

 

1.     
Call us; First, you have to call a phone
number “90877 90877”, who should come and take the excess food which is enough
for a minimum of 50 people. If it is less than for 50 people, the food can be
put at different collection points/facility center.

2.     
Quality Check; When the food is picked up,
the quality of food should be checked and then if it’s ok to re-consume it will
be transferred to dedicated places.

3.     
Locate Nearby Hunger Spot; The vehicle
that transfers the food then, by taking it from the nearby point for the
pickup.

4.     
Deliver Food; The food then is distributed
to the needy and hungry in the hunger spot.

FOOD CLOUD

When a store has food that it is still in good conditions
but they cannot sell it for different reasons, FoodCloud makes possible that they
upload a short description of the food using their scanners or the smartphone
app. A local charity linked to the store through the platform receives a
notification letting them know that food is available for collection. The
charity responds to accept the food and go to collect it.

 

 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

 

While doing
some literature review on my topic, saw that the world has already taken care a
lot of the food loss. Furthermore, a lot of effort was given in helping
charities and people in need with the surplus food coming either from
supermarkets or from hotels, restaurant or any other place. It is really sad
for me to see that yet my country is very far away for such solutions. Within
this project my main research question will be the following:

 

“Connecting
supermarket and charity organizations for delivery of food”

 

Which will lead to analyzing also:

 

– Which media channels are best for
establishing a communication between supermarkets and charity
organizations/poor people?

– 
How can technology decrease the amount of food waste in the
supermarkets?

 

After
observing the food being thrown, the amount and the quality of the food, the
next steps will be classifying the food that can be distributed to charities. I
contacted one of the charities operating in my town; they are very excited for
the project. I will start working on the implementation part. What I’m planning
to do is the app that stores the amount of food being thrown, and the amount of
food that we can reuse. Then, a notification about the quantity of the food
will be sent to the charity who will use the same app, if not we will inform
them by email. It is not defined yet if the supermarket will take care of food
distribution or the charities will have their people who will come and pick the
food. The supermarket managerial staff agreed on storing the products with
their due date, (mostly products with short due date, where we lose a bigger
amount of these items). When the due date is near we will have an alert for the
specific product so we can intervene faster on selling that item. If the
quantity will be huge, and the days of selling are not enough, the quantity
will be divided into two parts, some for selling and some for charity. In this
case, charities will have a daily food supply and supermarkets can contribute
to their community in a meaningful way.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

1
Eriksson, M. (2015). Supermarket food waste prevention and management with the
focus on reduced waste for reduced carbon footprint (Unpublished master’s
thesis). Uppsala: Sveriges lantbruksuniv.

 

2
FAO (2011) Global food losses and food waste, FAO, Rome.

 

3
“Preventing Waste. Our Food Waste.” Supermarket Food Waste | Co-Op Waste | ,
Co-Operative Group Limited., www.co-operativefood.co.uk/food-matters/preventing-waste/our-food-waste.

 

4
Harig, Andrew. “Feeding Hungry Americans = Priceless.” Feeding Hungry Americans
= Priceless, Food Marketing Institute., 27 June 2016,
www.fmi.org/blog/view/fmi-blog/2016/06/27/feeding-hungry-americans-priceless.

 

5
PLC, Morrisons. “Morrisons Unsold Food Programme – Waste Prevention.”
Morrisons, Morrisons Ltd,
my.morrisons.com/help/information/our-unsold-food-programme.

 

6
“DEMAND SUPERMARKETS DONATE THEIR UNSOLD FOOD.” Feedback, Global Feedback Ltd,
feedbackglobal.org/supermarkets-donate-unsold-food/.

 

7 Ed
Grover. “Giving Surplus Supermarket Food to Charities Will Not Solve Hunger or
Waste Problems, New Paper Claims.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and
Technology, 26 Jan. 2017, phys.org/news/2017-01-surplus-supermarket-food-charities-hunger.html.