Quantification and environmental impacts of food waste across the agri-food chain in Denmark


Sotirios Lytras

Master Thesis - Environmental Engineering - 2019

Reducing food losses and waste across the whole agri-food value chain is essential for an efficient and sustainable food system.

This study uses data from available literature in Denmark and quantifies food losses and waste across the food value chain through a Material Flow Analysis (MFA) study in all stages across the agri-food value chain:

  • Primary production
  • Processing of agricultural staples and slaughterhouses
  • Wholesale and retail
  • Food services and
  • Households

It also refers to the environmental impacts of food waste and how understanding the composition of food waste in each sector is very important. The aim of the study is to identify gaps in literature and to analyse the reasons of losses. It uses a systems approach for understanding the food waste problem in Denmark and what has been done so far.

Newer and more detailed studies show increased numbers of actual waste in every sector. The is a huge gap on data for primary production food composition and how much of this is intended for human consumption or feedstock and other purposes. Also, during processing the changes in the mass of food are never stated and the plural of definitions of food waste makes it hard to differentiate the actual food waste from by-products. There is a need for a consensus on food waste definitions, methods of quantifying and indicators used per sector across the agri-food value chain.

The paper also ends with a suggestion of creation of a national database with projects and initiatives related to food losses and waste , which will help the exchange of data and knowledge among stakeholders all over the agri-food value chain.

Master Thesis