Food waste interventions in low-and-middle-income countries: A systematic literature review

Heike Rolker, Mark Eisler, Laura Cardenas, Megan Deeney and Taro Takahashi
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Resource type:
Peer review

Reduction of food waste in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) can provide multi-layered benefits for their sustainable development, through improved food security, enhanced income as well as the creation of environmentally friendly secondary markets. Food systems, however, are often characterised by a complex network of actors across the value chain, where a parochial intervention at a local scale does not always achieve a globally optimal outcome. Here, they systematically reviewed 8,318 studies for the current evidence associated with the impact of interventions pursuing food waste reduction in LMICs.

Theyfirst classified interventions by the target stage within the value chain and by the mechanism of action, and then further based on whether they are primarily designed to prevent or mitigate (recycle, reuse, remanufacture, repurpose and recover) the wastage of the commodity. The authors found a near-complete disconnect between preventive and mitigative interventions amongst the studies, with the former only investigated at production, storage and transportation stages and the latter only at wholesale and consumption stages. No identified study employed preventive and mitigative measures together to explore the combined level of efficacy. The authors also identified a strong bias in favour of material-based interventions, with little attention given to knowledge-based alternatives or local capacity building.

Food Waste in LMICs
Authors' Theoretical Framework


This resource has been peer reviewed