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Overcoming the barriers to food recovery

Ryan Atkins (Department of Supply Chain Management, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
Kim Deranek (Department of Decision Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA)
Robert Sroufe (Department of Management, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)

Supply Chain Management

ISSN: 1359-8546

Article publication date: 14 February 2024

Issue publication date: 22 February 2024




Research and interest in food loss and waste (FLW) have increased, but barriers stand in the way of firms engaging in food recovery efforts. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of how firms overcome these barriers.


This study followed a qualitative, field-study-based research design in which 23 decision-makers at food-based organizations were interviewed. Quotes were extracted and categorized to develop a conceptual model of the food recovery process.


The conceptual model that evolved helps to explain decision-making related to FLW across the following dimensions: barriers to food recovery, incentives to overcome the barriers, internal processes for engaging in food recovery and external relationships influencing internal incentives and processes. In addition, the barriers and incentives were divided into operational and managerial issues.


Building on the barriers to food recovery in prior research, we explored the processes that help firms overcome these barriers. The model developed in this study is an important step toward addressing these processes and relationships. It can serve as a foundation for a variety of future studies of food recovery.



Since submission of this article, the following author has updated their affiliation: Robert Sroufe is at Chatham University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Atkins, R., Deranek, K. and Sroufe, R. (2024), "Overcoming the barriers to food recovery", Supply Chain Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 388-405.



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