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

Report highlights progress, challenges in health IT

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Progress has been made toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), although there are still barriers to adoption of advanced use of EHRs, according to a report published ...

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods

12 hours ago

It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Outdoor enthusiasts need a lightning plan

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Those partaking in outdoor sports and activities need to be aware of the threat posed by lightning and take appropriate safety measures, experts say.

User comments