Initiatives to fight food waste & improve food security: A case study in Flanders and South Africa

    Activiteit: OverigeAndere soorten (prijzen, externe en andere activiteiten) - (Co)promotor masterthesis


    The world food system is characterized by the following contradiction: the amount of perfectly edible food that is thrown away and the extraordinary high number of people living in food poverty. This study reviews the issues of food waste and food security, and investigates if reducing food waste could help to improve food security. A comparison is made between two rather contrasting regions, Flanders and South Africa. As food waste and food security are of a fairly distinct nature, solutions are assumed to be diverse too. Possibly, best practices could be shared between the two regions.

    In this study, the definitions of food security and food waste are provided, followed by evidence of the link between those two concepts. Together with an evaluation of current South African and Flemish policy and existing food waste initiatives, this forms the theoretical framework. Secondly, a focus group with nine important stakeholders from the Flemish food supply chain was conducted and the preliminary results were analyzed and adapted as necessary. The theoretical framework was subjected to a system analysis to demonstrate the interrelationship between the concepts of food waste and food security, how food waste initiatives can influence that relationship and how all connections differ depending on the region of interest. Finally, an in-depth analyses of two South African and two Flemish initiatives allowed a better understanding of the potential of food waste initiatives to improve food security, and the opportunities for sharing best practices.

    The complexity of the concept of food security impedes a structural improvement of food security by means of food waste initiatives. Nevertheless, the initiatives can have a dual function; reducing food waste while bringing incremental positive change in one or more dimensions of food security. Despite of the limited data concerning food waste initiatives in South Africa, there are policy- and initiative practices to be shared between the two regions thus showing that by introducing best practices there are possibilities of improving food security.

    Promotor van Julia Ijsselmuiden
    Gehouden opUniversity of Antwerp - Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development, België