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Re-distribution and promotion practices for suboptimal foods – commercial and social initiatives for the reduction of food waste

Tino Bech-Larsen (Department of Management, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark)
Jessica Ascheman-Witzel (Department of Management, Aarhus University, Aarhus C, Denmark)
Viktorija Kulikovskaja (Department of Management, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 21 January 2019

Issue publication date: 10 June 2019

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506

Abstract

Purpose

The increased acknowledgement of the problems associated with food waste has triggered a number of social and commercial initiatives for the re-distribution of suboptimal foods (SOFs). This paper aims to explore a variety of such initiatives and discuss their prospects, considering the commercial contingencies of the food supply system.

Design/methodology/approach

The exploration is based on a multi-country study of cases representing three initiatives related to the reduction of waste from SOFs, i.e. social supermarkets (SSMs), food banks and expiration date-based pricing practices. The collected data comprise expert interviews, store-check observations and secondary material; the data are analyzed from a marketing practice perspective.

Findings

The analyses indicate that the distribution and re-distribution of SOFs are moving toward normalization, that the diffusion of expiration date-based pricing through all food retailing formats is likely to continue, that food banks – despite reports of dwindling supplies of SOFs – are likely to increase their expansion and that SSMs face a variety of challenges, e.g. as regards their supply of SOFs and their customers’ preferences for stable assortments.

Originality/value

By synthesizing data from various European implementations of re-distribution practices, this article contributes to the understanding of the viability of such practices. Developing this understanding should benefit social and commercial entrepreneurs, as well as policymakers, when designing and implementing initiatives for the reduction of waste from SOFs.

Keywords

Citation

Bech-Larsen, T., Ascheman-Witzel, J. and Kulikovskaja, V. (2019), "Re-distribution and promotion practices for suboptimal foods – commercial and social initiatives for the reduction of food waste", Society and Business Review, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 186-199. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBR-11-2017-0094

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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