Can the redistribution of surplus food really improve food security?

While surplus food redistribution has been promoted as a way of reducing food waste and food poverty, a paper published recently in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management concludes that unless a distinction is drawn between genuine waste to be recovered and surplus to be redistributed for community benefit, surplus food as a resource is unlikely to be fully utilised.

Informed by an exploratory qualitative case study of third sector actors in north east England, the study explores the logics of surplus food redistribution. The framings and qualities ascribed to surplus foods as they flow through the food chain are examined. This research challenges the idea that food surplus is beyond the market and suggests that practices of distribution are never independent of their original market quality. Maintaining such quality within surplus food distribution processes is difficult and such challenges currently have to be overcome through agreements between charities and the .

As suggested by Dr. Jane Midgley from Newcastle University, 'surplus food redistribution is often presented as a solution to food insecurity and . But my research suggests that without greater guidance from government this will continue as an ad-hoc arrangement between the food industry and charities which may not adequately address either problem.' The research recommends that greater understandings of the values and qualities associated with surplus food and how the tensions surrounding these are managed is essential if surplus food is to be used as a potential resource to improve food security and other current system pressures.

More information: Jane L. Midgley, The logics of surplus food redistribution, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2013.848192, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09640568.2013.848192

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Food vs. fuel: Is there surplus land for bioenergy?

Oct 18, 2012

An interdisciplinary team of 11 scientists from seven European countries and the USA have discussed the concept to utilize so called surplus land for the production of feedstock for bioenergy. They identified ...

Meeting of minds on innovative food technologies

Oct 04, 2013

The European food and drink industry is one of the most innovative in the world. It leads in developing innovative techniques and technologies for producing safe, tasty and nutritional foods.

Zero tolerance for food waste a must

Jun 21, 2013

In light of a recent international report warning of impending food production shortages, Dr Shashi Sharma, Chair in Biosecurity and Food Security at Murdoch University, has a simple message: the world must ...

Recommended for you

Beijing adopts smoking ban for public places: state media

15 minutes ago

China's capital on Friday passed a smoking ban for all indoor public places and offices, state media reported, despite the failure of past attempts to limit where the country's 300 million smokers can light up.

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

16 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

Before you go... are you in denial about death?

23 hours ago

For most of us, death conjures up strong feelings. We project all kinds of fears onto it. We worry about it, dismiss it, laugh it off, push it aside or don't think about it at all. Until we have to. Of course, ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.