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Food loss and waste: the new buzzwords. Exploring an evocative holistic 4Es model for firms and consumers

Mariantonietta Fiore (Department of Economics, University of Foggia, Foggia, Italy)

EuroMed Journal of Business

ISSN: 1450-2194

Article publication date: 14 December 2020

Issue publication date: 13 October 2021




Etymologically, the word “loss” means to be deprived, temporarily or permanently, of use of faculty or an advantage. Therefore, when businesses and entrepreneurs suffer large amount of losses, they can be attributed to a non-effective and non-efficient way of handling assets. Consequently, high levels of bad management can be the cause for food losses (FL) across the agri-food supply chain, food waste (FW) depends on consumers' behavior in organizing food basket. Food loss and food waste (FWL) negatively affect environment and global economy. The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic 4Es (Ethical_Equity_Ecological_Economic) approach aimed at better managing and treating FLW along the agri-food chain from upstream to downstream stages by addressing entrepreneurs and consumers' approach.


The work focuses on the definition and designing of three possible tools: (1) the implementation of a FL_break-even point model; (2) the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures including a scheme for FL critical points and (3) a consumer's tax FW declaration model. Beginning with these tools, the work tries to define a holistic model by involving all the actors performing in a strictly inter- linked system.


Approaching the FLW issue in a holistic way can ensure the involvement of engaged and productive people at work, lead to strategies and policies aimed at enriching consumers' awareness and entrepreneurs' management approach, and can address the handling of FLW toward Ethical, Equity, Ecological_and Economic (that means effective and efficient) paths.

Social implications

Monitoring and decreasing FLW by implementing the proposed tools from upstream to downstream of the food supply chain can certainly improve the reliability of firm production and investment decisions, and at the same time, behavior of people who feel to be part of an interrelated system. This can help to lighten FLW negative impacts on consumers' income and on pollution as well as indirectly on poverty.


This paper wants to make an innovative attempt to approach the FLW issue in a global and holistic way, while focusing on behavior and awareness of firms/entrepreneurs and consumers/citizens. In addition, the tools and approach defined pave the way for subsequent empirical works to follow.



The author thanks prof. Braga who supported the presentation of the first results at the IFAMA 2018 conference in Buenos Aires and IFAMA 2019 conference in Hangzhou (China). Furthermore, the author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of the article.


Fiore, M. (2021), "Food loss and waste: the new buzzwords. Exploring an evocative holistic 4Es model for firms and consumers", EuroMed Journal of Business, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 526-543.



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