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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14678
Retailer's role in reducing food waste: Case study of Finnish retailers
Author: Syroegina, Anastasia
Title: Retailer's role in reducing food waste: Case study of Finnish retailers
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: ruoka; food; hävikki; wastage; vähittäiskauppa; retail trade
Pages: 96
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14678.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1456567)
Key terms: food waste, ruokahävikki, retailers, vähittäiskauppa, food supply chain, ruoan toimitusketju, supply chain management, toimitusketjun hallinta, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, sustainability

Food waste is increasingly becoming a "hot" topic in both public discussion and scientific research. It is brought about by cultural shifts related to the global rise of middle class, transition to more perishable types of food, urbanization and growth in single-person households. Numerous international organizations such as UN and OECD have acknowledged the problem, and in 2012 EU called for urgent actions to halve the union's food waste by year 2025. Retailers are chosen as the object of research in this thesis because they are central players in the food industry that can reach out to and influence suppliers and consumers alike.


The objectives of this thesis are to obtain a general understanding of the food waste phenomenon at different stages of the supply chain, identify concrete practices that retailers could adopt in order to reduce waste and explore how many of the identified practices Finnish retailers have implemented. Additionally, the thesis aims to find out what practices are key to reducing food waste in Finnish retailers' opinion. An evaluation model is developed based on the chosen practices and later used for evaluating Finnish retailers' efforts.


The main research method utilized in this thesis is case study. Two Finnish retailers, S-group and Kesko, which together serve over 90% of market share were studied. First, data was collected from the official web pages of Finnish retailers to get a general view of what practices they had adopted and what challenges related to reducing food waste they face. Second, two structured interviews were conducted with S-group and Kesko representatives to obtain more detailed information regarding whether or not and how the practices were being implemented.


The results show that the two Finnish retailers have adopted all of the identified practices to some extent and the issue of food waste is taken extremely seriously. The majority of the practices were rated at the highest level, and potential improvements were identified related to the usage of cosmetically substandard produce and consumer education regarding food waste. Both retailers claimed the careful planning of demands and orders to be the key to reduced food waste. While the retailers have demonstrated substantial efforts to decrease food waste in their supply chain and stores, it was recommended that additional measures are taken in order to educate consumers and influence their behavior.
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