Optimising industrial food waste management

Global levels of food waste are attracting growing concern and require immediate action to mitigate their negative ecological and socio-economic ramifications. In the developed world, of the order of 20-40% of food waste is generated at the manufacturing stage of supply chains and is often managed in non-optimised ways leading to additional environmental impacts. This research describes a novel decision-support tool to enable food manufacturers to evaluate a range of waste management options and identify the most sustainable solution. A nine-stage qualitative evaluation tool is used in conjunction with a number of quantitative parameters to assess industrial food waste, which is then used to generate performance factors that enable the evaluation of economic, environmental and social implications of a range of food-waste management alternatives. The applicability of this process in a software-based decision-support tool is discussed in the context of two industrial case studies.