SHARING LIVE INFORMATION TO TACKLE SUPERMARKET FOOD WASTE UTILIZING A MOBILE APPLICATION ASSIGNMENT 2020
This study is based upon finding out the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application.
The main issue that lies in the research is that overall quantity of food that is thrown away in the dustbin increases wastage of food and impact the environment to a large extent.
According to Pleissner, (2018), wastage of food is regarded as one of the main concerned that has been mainly seen among renowned companies or industries, this problem has increased scarcity of foods among the people.
As the study progress, it will discuss the introduction of a mobile application that is used to manage food and loss of quantity in the supermarkets.
Taking advantage of the mobile application, the wastage of the food can be reduced as the application will be able to make people aware of the issues regarding the wastage of the food.
The overview of the respective research is centered on the facts that help in the reduction of food wastage.
With the advancement of technology, the quality of food wastage can be reduced, by the introduction of the mobile application that the business firm can be used to minimize the wastage of food loss within the supermarkets (Shafiee-Jood & Cai, 2016).
Due to the wastage of food, other risk has also been noticed such as increase in emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gas such as methane has generated heat that makes the planet warm as it is more effective than CO2. The emission of GHG (“Greenhouse Gas”) has been increased due to Methane and the eruption of methane has been increased due to the wastage of food in the land.
Concerning the food industry in the UK, it can be stated that food wastage has caused a major threat to the economy of the country.
Based on the pieces of evidence gathered from the sources of information it has been identified that around 1 billion GBP are wasted due to the wastage of food and it denotes that the large quantity of the economic loss of a country (Theguardian, 2019).
One of the main reasons behind the wastage of the food lies in the incapability of selling food within the speculated time. The background of the research will also discuss about Companies in the UK that have been able to understand the importance of food to a large extent and by pursuing these mobile applications, many reputed companies such as TESCO, Waitrose, Marks, and Spencer have been succeeding to reduce wastage of food and put less negative impact upon the environment.
Based on the view of Woolley et al (2016), it can be stated that wastage of food needs to be submerged by the government of the UK as it cause loss of 14 Billion GBP.
Taking data from the relevant sources, it has been known that in the year 2015, 3.2 Million tonnes of food has been wasted that affect the outcome of the natural sources of the respective country.
According to Morgan et al (2016), biodiversity gets hampered by the wastage of food such as land of the planet is damaged due to this fact as fauna and flora get destroyed with the destruction of the natural resources and wastage of food is considered as the main reason behind this destruction.
Following the view of Falcone & Imbert (2017), it can be stated that usage of an ineffective crop harvest, food production gets hampered and food cannot be processed properly. Lacking in the usage of proper technology in farming could also generate the wastage of food.
Based on the background of the study the loss or wastage of food is detrimental to misuse and poor management of food items (Amir, Hophmayer-Tokich & Kurnani, 2016).
The food lost not only causes impact to the environment but also the economy. As mentioned earlier, loss of food or food wasted cost around 14 Billion GBP in 2012 whereas another report by Wrap, (2019) indicated that food wastage in all of UK from supermarkets, stores, restaurants, during logistics and even during production cost around £20 billion.
However, the waste from stores, household and restaurants are avoidable, which means that at some point before being thrown away the food was still usable.
In a recent report Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Unilever amongst the major supermarkets in UK have strategized to reduce the amount of food loss from stores (Petter, 2019).
The management of food in stores and supermarkets can be controlled with the use of technologies (Lazell, 2016).
For instance, various apps like Olio, Foodcloud, and a many more to name allow live sharing of leftover foods or foods with little shelf life to share information with consumers, neighbors and non-profits.
However there is a lack of unified live sharing technology in the UK that can share information on left over fresh food that would otherwise go to waste. This is the main problem that the current study aims to target.
Even though there are apps like Foodcloud and other personalized apps used by various restaurant owners to reduce the wastage, lack of live sharing apps that notifies customers about discounts provided on leftover food in big stores that will otherwise go to trash is a major setback.
A few countries have adopted similar technological approaches which have not yet been conducted in UK. One last problem is that, even if there are applications there is a lack of literature based knowledge on the perspectives and strategies used by the major super markets of UK towards food wastage.
Therefore, this study will aim to understand the willingness and the existence of various strategies used by the supermarkets of UK against control of food wastage.
In addition, the study will also aim to understand and explore the methods used to generate awareness amongst the consumers with respect to food wastages and if they provide discounts on left over foods to increase sales as well as the willingness of the employees of the supermarkets to go extra mile to improve sales and reduce food wastage.
The rationale of the study is to explore the willingness and the existence of strategies amongst the supermarkets of UK in using mobile or technological platforms in reduction of food wastage.
In the current scenario, there are various global technological platforms or mobile applications that allow tracking and automated maintenance of supermarket inventories as well as the on display products (Solanki’s, Anastasiadi, & Srai, 2018).
The inventory level is directly linked to the supply chain and based on the inventories the delivery of new products are maintained.
There are also technologies developed for small restaurants whereby they share leftover foods like cakes, cookies, cooked foods and others with NGOs and consumers at discounted rates to reduce the amount of food wastage (Harvard Business Review, 2017).
Similarly there are applications like the food cloud in UK that allows the managers of supermarkets and store owners to share information with non-profits about surplus foods and leftovers that will otherwise go to trash for donation.
However, as mentioned in the research problem, there is a lack of external platform that allows the live sharing of surplus foods and leftovers amongst consumers at discounted process to increase sales as well as reduce food wastage.
Based on these aspects, it is imperative to understand the willingness amongst the managers and the shift managers of supermarkets in the UK in adoption of technological strategies to reduce food wastage. In addition, it is also imperative to understand exiting strategies used by the managers of the supermarkets in regard to food wastage reduction.
Therefore, the study will target a few of the supermarkets in UK to understand the strategies used, willingness to adopt the technologies, awareness amongst the customers to improve sales and understand the level of wastage and types of food wasted.
The research aims to find out the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application.
“Investigating the possibility and willingness of the supermarket managers and shift managers ton share stock information in an external platform using a live mobile application to curtail food waste and thereby increase profitability for supermarkets”.
- Investigate the level of loss to supermarkets due to food wastage.
- Analyse measures taken by supermarkets to curtail food wastage.
- Investigate the possibility of sharing information through a mobile application to tackle food wastage.
- Look at the measures taken in other countries to address the issue of food wastage.
- Analyzing possibilities of making profits through food wastage applications.
- Investigating the supermarket’s preference for sharing information on the platform.
- To what extent the supermarkets have faced loss due to wastage of food?
- What are the possible measures that can be undertaken by the supermarkets for the reduction of food wastage?
- What are the effects of using mobile applications for discarding food wastage?
- What are the measures that have been undertaken by other countries for reducing the wastage of food?
- How the profits will be generated by the mobile application of food wastage?
- What is the preference of the supermarket on sharing relevant information concerning food wastage?
As mentioned, the main aim of the current study is to the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application and explore the possibility and willingness of the supermarket managers and shift managers ton share stock information in an external platform using a live mobile application to curtail food waste and thereby increase profitability for supermarkets.
Based on this, it is imperative to first understand the theoretical background of the strategies used by the supermarkets of UK to reduce food wastage (Ravindran & Jaiswal, 2016).
Therefore, the first way to assess this is by literature review. Using literature reviews, the level of food wastage globally and in UK were first reviewed. After this the use of different strategies and use of technologies globally and the UK were assessed.
The literatures also helped in assess0ng the possible measures used by the supermarkets in reducing food wastage and the measures that have been undertaken by other countries.
Since this study mainly focused on assessing the ground reality of the food wastage and the strategies to reduce them, a qualitative study was planned that helped in understanding the perspectives of profits generated using mobile platforms to reduce food wastage.
In addition, the qualitative study also helped to explore the using of mobile applications for discarding food wastage or to reduce them.
Thus the significance of the study is mainly to generate knowledge on the state of usage of technology and the willingness to reduce food wastage amongst the UK supermarkets using both literature reviews and qualitative analysis.
Figure 1.1 Structure of the dissertation
The literature review section of the study is based upon evaluating the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application.
In regards to get a clear insight into the topic, the study has been conducted on Tesco organisation in the UK.
The quality of food among the people matters a lot because it reduces the wastage of foods along with providing supportive measures to the economy that helps in building the infrastructure of the country.
In this research study, the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food along with the reduction of food wastage through mobile application will be discussed in this chapter.
The chapter of the literature review section is based upon the objectives that have been set out in the initial chapter of the study.
The first and foremost section of the literature review is based upon having a clear insight into the food utilisation and reducing the wastage of food within supermarkets with the help of mobile applications. In the section of literature review a formative conceptual framework will also be laid down on basis of which the whole study will be conducted.
The conceptual framework will also discuss the quantity loss in the supermarkets along with the wastage of food and determining the food wastage through the use of mobile applications.
Moreover, the study of the literature review will also discuss about the research gap which are present in the study and make it difficult to conduct the study systematically. Therefore, the study of literature review becomes important in terms of determining results and systematically performs the study.
Figure 1.2 Conceptual framework
The factors that increase the wastage of food within the supermarkets include quantity loss and lack of resources.
These are major factors that increase the food wastage within the supermarkets as a result of which the production of the firm decreases along with the quality of the food also degrades that devalue the value of the firm among the customers.
It has also been noticed that greenhouse gases are another major risk that arises within the supermarkets due to the overutilization of resources.
Whereas, strategies has also been devised such as the mobile application that manages and monitors the movement of the goods and minimises the food wastage within the supermarket organisation.
Food is a very important factor in human survival, yet it is been wasted causing social, economic and environmental costs to society (Mithun et al, 2019).
Food waste is considered to be the quantity of food that is thrown away or lost uneaten. Food wastage occurs at several stages along with the food-producing and distributing line (Maiyar and Thakkar, 2019).
A definition published by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), explains food waste as wholesome edible material intended for human consumption that is discarded, lost, degraded or consumed by pests (FAO, 1987).
In another more elaborative explanation by Stuart (2009) adding to the definition of FAO states that food waste should also include edible material intentionally fed to animals as well as by-products of food processing which are diverted away from human consumption.
UN Food and Agricultural Organization claims that roughly one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is either wasted or lost. It is estimated to be 1.3 billion tons per year.
The economic loss due to food waste amounts to 1 trillion dollars every year (Alaxender et al, 2017). These are food that can otherwise be saved and consumed without being wasted. Moreover, food waste generates 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases. Similarly, it uses up to 1.4 billion hectares of land, ie; 28% of the world’s agricultural area.
The conditions are so critical that a recent study has shown that controlling food waste is the third most successful way of controlling climate change (Feedbackglobal.org, 2019).
Considering these facts, food waste in the United Kingdom has been an environmental and socioeconomic subject which needs attention from both governments and private organisations.
In the UK the post farm food wastage is estimated at 10.2 million tonnes a year, the economic loss from food wastage in the UK was estimated at 13 billion GBP (The Guardian, 2017).
According to the figures from Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP), an organization motivated in estimating and tackling food wastage in the UK, a total of 3.1 million tonnes of food wastage occurred in the UKs entire supply chain for the year 2015.
This accounts for 260,000 tonnes in the retailing sector, 1.85 million tonnes of food wastage by UK manufacturers and 1 million tonnes by the Hospitality and foodservice sector.
Besides, WRAP further states that 7.3 million tonnes of food are wasted by UK households each year. However, the UK supermarkets has been criticized for wasting food that is damaged or unsold which are still fit to be consumed (BBC, 2014).
Based on the evidences gathered from a published article BBC on climate change that Scotland’s food waste cause more green-house gas than plastic. In a research carried out by Zero Waste International Alliance, a non-profit organisation allied with municipalities and businesses across the globe to work towards zero waste states that in order to investigate the damage caused by food waste in Scotland it was found that 456,000 tonnes of food waste was collected in 2016 in comparison to the 224,000 plastic collected the same year (BBC, 2019).
Most of the studies carried out with regards to food waste were conducted through waste compositional analysis, it provides information about the types and amounts of materials in each waste stream (Shcneider&Oberstiener, 2007, Watanabe, 2009, WRAP, 2008).
Data is collected by sorting the waste physically through hand and classifying them into predetermined groups (WRAP, 2018). In the UK the data is gathered by the local municipalities and they are used in determining the level of food waste within the country (WRAP, 2014).
One of the major drawbacks of this method is that the data collection process is expensive; moreover, hand sorting is often an unpleasant task (Langley et al, 2010). It is stated that developed countries produce more food waste than in developing countries.
The total production of food in North America and Europe has been estimated at 900 kg/capita/year (Gustovvson et al, 2011).
Similarly, the level of availability of this produced food items vary, the estimated food consumption in the developed countries is stated as 1006 kg/capita/year (Alexdrotus and Burinsma, 2012).
Likewise, the level of food loss and wastage in the developed countries is high and it is estimated as 95-115 kg/capita/year in North America and Europe when compared to 6-15 kg/capita/year in Sub Saharan and South/ Southeast Asian countries (Abdulla et al, 2013).
The causes of food waste in low-income countries is mainly due to insufficient training to the farmers, lack of technology and infrastructure limitations, this occurs at the early stage of food production.
On the other hand, the causes of food waste in developed countries are connected mostly to the lack of connection between supply chain and consumer behaviour (Bagherzadeh, 2014).
A report published by OECD in 2014 suggests that reducing food waste can increase supply and thereby shift the supply curve to the right, this will ultimately reduce the prices and increase consumption levels.
Similarly, reducing food waste can reduce demand and consumption leading to a reduction in supply and prices.
Further, it states that increasing the world population combined with rising income and changes in dietary preferences may exert pressure on the global food supply. This opens up an opportunity to reduce waste and develop technologies to curtail food waste.
Fig1: Overview of Food lost and Waste in Food Supply Chain (Vander-Verf and Gilliand, 2017)
Based on Lipinski et al (2013) the type of food wastage occurring mostly at distribution and market are classified as below.
- Losses at the wholesale and retail market during distribution.
- Edible produce sorted out due to differences in quality.
- Products that are expired before customer purchase.
- Products that are spilled or damaged in the market.
These losses occur at the distribution and market stage. Moreover, the edible products which are lost or wasted at this stage could have been saved through taking the right measures to curtail food wastage.
Minimizing food waste is an important issue all the supermarkets should address. Hence, more than 100 food businesses and organisations in the UK have pledged their support to the UK government call to curtail food wastage.
This includes all major supermarkets in the country such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, and Unilever were among the companies who have extended their support to halves the food wastage by 2030 (Independent, 2019).
Their wastage is estimated as food and drinks worth of 10.2 million pounds a year (Open Access Government, 2018).
At Tesco supermarket, the actions to curtail food wastage have been taken already, the supermarket donates its food otherwise been wasted to the FareShare FoodCloud app which redistributes the donations among the needy.
Tesco owns more than 6000 stores across the UK and the company states that less than 1% of their food goes on waste every year.
However, the food that are not taken by the charities are offered to the workers within by establishing colleague shops in the stores. According to Tesco no food waste from the Supermarket has been dumped into UK landfills since the year 2009.
The company further states that any bakery products left are turned in to animal feed for livestock. Any oil left is converted into biodiesel and if there is no alternative, energy is produced through anaerobic digestion and incineration (Tesco, 2019).
On the other hand, Co-op food has more than 2500 stores in the UK ranking them as the fifth biggest retailer in the country.
The co-op also joined in hands with the FareShare FoodCloud app donating them the food or otherwise the food were wasted from the stores. In another attempt to tackle food waste, Co-Op innovatively started selling its products past its best before dates. Tin food, dried food such as pasta, rice and crisp were sold at a price of 10P a food item (Open Access Government, 2017).
A statement by WRAP estimates that 13billion GBP worth of food is wasted in the UK as consumers confuse between best before and use by dates printed on products. Indeed, best before date indicates that food can be sold, redistributed and consumed after the date but will not meet the optimum quality of the producer (BBC, 2017).
Through these initiatives, Co-Op targets to save 50,000 products each year which are otherwise been thrown away creating serious damage to the environment.
An article published by Independent “British supermarket signs government pledge to halve food waste by 2030” states that many supermarket chains in the UK have taken the necessary measures to curtail food waste within their organization.
The initiative was carried out by the UK government and the necessary actions were taken by the supermarkets. Taking this into consideration Sainsbury’s supermarket chain has taken the following steps to curtail food wastage from their organisation.
Firstly, the supermarket focuses on partnering with farmers in advising and providing the information on production levels to ensure what the farmers grow matches the quantities their customers would buy(Sainsburys, 2019).
For example, the company converted its oddly shaped squash into butternut squash noodles or noodles. The company also states that to reduce the waste they have adopted new technology for stock controls and redesigned packaging to make it last longer.
Secondly, Sainsbury makes food donations to charity organisations thereby feeding the needy and getting rid of the food without being wasted(Sainsbury, 2019). Finally, the company states that they have taken initiative to remove multi-buy options from their stores enabling the customers to buy only what they need.
Moreover, Asda in their food wastage reduction plan, states that reducing food wastage is high on their agenda and they have two main commitments ie; to reduce food wastage to 20% by the year 2025 and to halve by 2030.
To accomplish their goal Asda will focus on reduction, repurpose and redistribution. To start with, in an attempt for reduction Asda has established a special team named “Date Team” to review dates products and how things are selling in each store(Asda, 2019).
The supermarket analyse the buying behaviour of consumers in different weather conditions and arrange their stocks accordingly. Secondly, in action for repurposing Asda in 2016 introduced a wonky veg box with oddly shaped vegetables named “Beautiful on the Inside”.
The box contains 5kg of various fresh vegetables which are sold at a price 30% less than the standard line(Cdrc, 2019). Finally, Asda donates its products otherwise been wasted to charity organisations to redistribute it among the needy.
Waitrose also has taken many other steps in curtailing food wastage from their stores. Similarly, Waitrose has its range of oddly shaped vegetables and fruits sold at a lesser price in their stores.
The supermarket also donates its leftover food items to charities to feed the needy people.
A Harvard business review on “How large food retailers can help solve the food waste crisis” by Yesmin, Jaideep and Mark (2017) suggest 4 ways to curtail food wastage within the stores. To begin with, the article suggests upgrading inventory systems to new technology for stock controls and to identify perishable products.
Secondly, it highlights the importance of partnering with the farmers and providing them with the necessary information and techniques to control food wastage.
Furthermore, the article suggests the supermarkets change their traditional practices and introduce innovative methods to sell their products to consumers (Martin-Rios, Demen-Meier, Gössling, & Cornuz, 2018).
For example, selling highly perishable products without piling them together, selling oddly shaped products at a reduced price, etc. Finally, it recommends the supermarket to team up with the consumers and provides awareness about food and wastage.
Also, encourage them to change their buying habits to tackle food wastage in the country.
The issue of food wastage has a considerable impact on society. According to WRAP about 1.1 million tonnes of food waste worth 1.9 billion GBP from the UK grocery supply chain could be avoided (Boxall, 2016). In light of this situation, many individuals and companies have come forward with innovative technologies to help tackle food wastage (Cole, 2017).
One solution for food wastage is using sharing economy; with the advancement of technology, the ability to share food on different platforms has improved (Farr-Wharton et al, 2014).
Indeed, there are many mobile applications and websites invented to address this issue. For example, a study on understanding food sharing models to tackle food waste has identified three categories of food sharing.
To start with, sharing for money, B2C model intended to reduce waste and at the same time yield profit through sharing. Secondly, sharing for charity, the food is collected and shared with non-profit organisations for charity.
Lastly, sharing for the community, this is a P2P model where the food is shared among the consumers to reduce food waste (Michelini et al, 2018).
However, in the United Kingdom mobile applications and web platforms serving all three above mentioned categories exist.
For instance, “Too good to go” is a mobile application that connects customers to restaurants, enabling restaurants to sell their surplus food at a discounted price(Toogoodtogo, 2019). According to the information published on its website, the app has over 1.2 million users in the UK.
Based on the opinion of (Toogoodtogo, 2019) they are also partnered with more than 1800 stores and since 2016 too good to go has saved more than 8 hundred thousand meals. The app was found in Denmark in the year 2015 and launched in the UK in 2016.
The app provides information about participating restaurants, what food available, price and where to collect it. Customers can make an order of discounted food available and collect it from the restaurant at a designated time.
Besides, Olio can be described as an app that focuses on sharing food among the customers. According to the Olio website, the mobile application allows rescuing neighbour’s surplus food.
A registered user can advertise the surplus food nearing expiry at home to be shared with someone interested in them. The company’s website states that it is now available to share food from local businesses and also non-food household items.
With a community of more than 1.2 million users, Olio has rescued well over 1.9 million food portions from going into waste.
Similarly, Karma is a mobile application launched in the UK in 2018, using Karma a customer can buy a surplus product listed in the application at a 50% reduced price from the store.
So far, the Swedish originated company has partnered with many restaurants and grocery stores in London(Karma, 2019). The parent company in Sweden has partnered with the three biggest supermarket chains in Sweden and has been operating successfully (Evening Standard, 2018).
According to the company’s website, the partner restaurants and groceries list their surplus food at half price through the Karma app and the customer gets to order the food online and pick it up from the store.
Furthermore, UK supermarkets have joined in hand with non-profit organisations to donate their surplus food for the needy.
Based on the opinion of Neighbourly, (2019), Neighbourly is one such social platform that connects supermarkets with various community projects. The supermarkets list their surplus food items with expiry date and other information on the platform and charities and food banks registered with Neighbourly collects them from designated places for redistribution.
Likewise, Foodcloud is a similar non-profit organisation as Neighbourly joined in hands with big supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose in the UK.
Foodcloud receives surplus food items from the supermarkets and the organisation redistributes it among the needy individuals, charities and food banks(Food.cloud, 2019).
The Foodcloud app allows the Tesco Managers to alert the charities and community groups about the amount of surplus food left for the day and the charities can then say whether they need the food and pick it up for free (Cole, 2017).
However, many other foods are saving mobile applications contributing to the cause of saving food wastage exist around the world.
“No Food Wasted” is a mobile application from the Netherlands which allows its customers to view discounted meat and fish from nearby stores before they pass their “best before date”(Nofoodwaste, 2019).
Further, the application allows the customer to list their requirements and be notified when the products on their list get discounted at a nearby store. Applications such as Cheetah in Africa, 11th hour in Singapore, “Yo No Desperdisio” in Spain, Food Cowboy in the USA all contribute to the act of saving food without been wasted (The Guardian, 2017).
According to commercial food saving apps Olio and Too Good to Go, the number of users in their platforms have passed 1.2 million individuals.
Karma on its website states that the company has reached 700 thousand users in the UK in a short span of a year(Toogoodtogo, 2019). On the other hand, Too Good to GO on their website states that the users have saved 868 thousand meals since its launch in the UK.
Furthermore, Olio’s website states that the platform has been used by individuals to share 2million portions of food in the UK. Analysing the number of users joining each platform to rescue food implies the enthusiasm within the society to rescue food and buy them at a discounted price.
This enables them to enjoy their favourite meal or food at an affordable price and thereby contributing to a social cause. It can be noted that store managers share information on surplus food with charity organisations daily to rescue food.
But how likely they to share information on discounted products on a real-time basis are still in doubt.
According to Innovatorsmag, (2019), it has been identified that food wastage in the global platform is affecting the economy alongside the environment, it has been noticed that one-third of food produced gets wasted, which cost around $ 1 trillion each year.
Considering the global catastrophe of growing food wastage within the country, the government of respective countries has taken the initiative to operate in a minimum standard, which makes it easier to encourage food waste initiatives among the people.
Based on the evidence gathered it has been noticed that Australia has become the first country to take up the initiative of reducing waste by 50% by the end of 2030 (Innovatorsmag, 2019).
Based on the evidence gathered it has been identified that the food waste in the Australian economy is currently 20 billion dollars per year. To reduce the wastage of food within the country, the Government of Australia has invested around 1.2 million dollars over two years to support its food rescue organisations (Theguardian, 2019).
The government of Australia has also initiated various charitable programs such as the Food Rescue Charities Program which aims towards supporting Second Bite, OzHarvest and FareShare to maintain good quality in the foods and reduce its wastage.
Norway has also taken up the step towards reducing the food wastage within the country to suffice the needs of the people along with support the economy as well.
The average food that is thrown away by the people of Norway is 42 kg every year, food waste in the entire food chain represents 68 kg per person per year (Independent, 2019).
The government of Norway has taken up the initiative of reducing 15% of wastage by the end of 2020 and 30% by the end of 2025. In regards to minimising the food wastage within the country, France government has banned supermarkets from throwing away unsold foods, instead, they are forced to donate surplus food to charities and other food banks.
According to Theguardian, (2019), supermarkets all around the world develops food wastage applications that are used by the organisations to tackle food waste with the help of an app that allows the suppliers to buy and sell excess produce.
U.S based company Food Cowboy has developed an app that is known as Food’s Wild West that allows the food companies to donate surplus food to nearby charities along with organic waste to composters so that proper utilisation of resources can be maintained and less food wastage can be retained.
The company has partnered with more than 400 charities whereas 200 doors are made up of shippers and wholesalers (Bbc, 2019). Moreover, the app is also designed in a way that supports recovery programs to support local charities.
It has been noticed that food wastage applications are estimated to reduce the taxable income by $ 6 billion a year and eliminate $ 1.3 billion in disposable fees (Huffingtonpost, 2019).
The implementation of food wastage application is estimated to reduce the food wastage by 7% each year and save around $ 485 million every year. Based on the evidence gathered from (Dou, et al., 2016),it has also been estimated that food wastage application is also expected to contribute other benefits to the organisation such as it helps in monitoring the inventories of the goods so that the foods do not get wasted due to non-maintenance.
Moreover, the food wastage application also benefits in calculating the amount of food wastage that is produced by the organisation every year.
According to Euronews, (2019), Netherland based food application No Food Wasted has partnered with supermarkets where the app tracks and monitors the daily sales of the food items.
The application of the food wastage app has cut monthly food waste by 25% and saved the company € 2,500 each day.
According to Thegrocer, (2019), it has been noticed that supermarkets prefer to share information on the platform because it helps in keeping the record of the database of the customers along with the total number of goods sold every year.
Furthermore, sharing information on the online platform also makes it easier for the organisation to identify the new entrants along with their strengths and weakness. Big data analysis is used to share information on the platform such as the gathered information that is being collected is being stored in cloud spaces that are later used to develop or design products.
As opined by (Manzocco, Alongi, Sillani, & Nicoli, 2016), big data analysis is also used to monitor the amount of waste that is generated from the food wastage, hence it becomes easier for the management to track the information and use it to manage the resources and minimize the waste within the management.
Tesco uses a club card database to check up on what the customers are eating and shopping. Based on the gathered information then it becomes easier for the management to design and develop food items based on the set quantities that are preferred by the customers, hence it eliminates the amount of food wastage within the organisation (Bananalink, 2019).
Sharing of information on the online platform is also being used to utilize the waste food at its best such as donating all the overused foods among the poor people so that they can suffice their hunger and improve their lifestyle.
This research was based upon finding out the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application.
The above section of the literature review is based on the objectives that have been set up in the initial section of the study.
The research gap that has been identified is the sources of information gathered from secondary sources were not enough to come down into a formative conclusion, were the exact results related to the implication of food wastage through mobile applications have not been graphed.
The study is based upon finding out the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the reduction of food wastage through the mobile application.
The chapter has been based upon the objectives of the study that has been laid down in the initial section of the study.
To construct the literature review, secondary sources of information have been taken into consideration which has helped in systematically conducting the study.
The literature review section of the study has discussed the level of loss to supermarkets due to food wastage along with determining the initiatives taken up by countries to tackle food wastage issues.
The main focus of this research is to find appropriate methods of research methods that are required for conducting this study which is based on tackling the wastage of supermarket foods by using a mobile application.
Various mobile applications can be used for sharing important information with various people and thus help them to remain updated. Since this dissertation aims to analyse the possibilities of using a live mobile app to manage the wastage of food, therefore it is important to assess all the relevant theories that are associated with this research.
Research methodology is the framework setting out various steps needed to organise and conduct a research (Kothari, 2004). A research method shows the strategies used to find resources, gather data, the philosophies used and others.
In this regard, for addressing the main aim and the objective of the study a detailed approach has been presented in this chapter to present the methods and techniques used in the conduction of the study.
The observer will perform the research based on the selected research methods which will be followed by the proper justification that will help the researcher in systematically conducting the study.
Structured interviews will also be conducted to analyse the usage of mobile apps for solving issues. Data analysis along with sampling techniques will also be undertaken in order to make this research successful.
Ethical consideration as well as accessibility issues will also be briefly explained in this research methodology section.
3.2 Research onion
Figure 3.1 Research Onion
(Source: Saunders et al., 2009)
The framework of research is used to analyse the entire research study and estimate the rate of progress of the research paper.
The research onion was initially established by Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, (2007) that is used to cover all the important steps that are involved in conducting the research.
It is important to have a proper view from the outer part to understand all the layers present in the onion. It will help in getting the entire details that are involved in the conduction of the research.
According to the views of Sinha, Clarke & Farquharson (2018), the primary step that is involved in the research onion is the research philosophy.
The stage of research philosophy helps in adopting the second step that is the research approach, which is used to develop the study.
The third step that is present in the research onion is the design of the research and the next step involved in it is a strategy for conducting the research. The research time horizon is also an important step of this research onion since it helps in analysing the total time that can be required in the completion of this research paper.
The major benefit of this research onion is that it provides a series of steps that can be used in gathering useful data that are important for the conduction of this study.
The main reason for using the research onion is that it provided a detailed framework of the tools and philosophies needed for exploring different strategies used in tackling the wastage of supermarket foods by using a mobile application and the willingness or readiness amongst them to adopt such platforms to improve sales as well as reduce food wastage.
In addition, the study plans to use a qualitative study, so the research onion provided guidance to the steps and methods needed from strategizing the methodology to gathering of the data and its assessments.
Figure3.2. Outlining the methods
The outlining of the method can be considered as one of the most effective steps of taking down all the notes of the research steps that are involved in the conduction of this study.
For organizing this research, both primarily qualitative data and secondary qualitative data are taken into consideration.
To analyse the usage of mobile apps for reducing the wastage of foods, information has been gathered from various peer-reviewed journals and articles. This helped in developing strong knowledge about the topic and thus helped in finding various techniques to solve the issues.
Besides, structured interviews are conducted for collecting the primary data which will be analysed for understanding the views regarding the importance of mobile apps.
Moreover, the secondary data has also been gathered to assess the market values and the trends that are involved in the usage of mobile applications. In this research study, the inductive approach has been taken into consideration. Pragmatism approach is also used for conducting the study.
The main reason for using the method of outline the techniques in use is to segregate and strategise a method for the conduction of the study.
Outlining the methods allows jotting down the steps and sequence of presenting the different aspects considered for the conduction of the study.
The outlining method allows the identification of the research paradigm for the study which in turn allowed the identification of the research approach and the methods for data collection.
Figure3.3. Research philosophy
The process of research philosophy is considered as a way that can be used to collect various data for the research and analysis is also one of the data involved.
By understanding the main aim of the research and the statistical significance, the research philosophy can be identified.
There are various types of research philosophies such as Ontology, Epistemology, Positivism, Realism, Interpretive, Pragmatism and Axiology. According to the views of Kennedy (2017), the observer has considered the pragmatism approach in this research because it is known as the best method to identify the issues that are involved in the chosen topic.
This philosophy of research accepts the relevance of the concept only if the action is supported by it. Positivism and interpretive are the two important paradigms that can be used to assess the research by acquiring sufficient knowledge.
The research philosophies have been used in collecting the data related to the issues present with the food wastage. Research philosophy is also helpful in analysing all the issues to develop the required strategies for solving the issues.
In this research, the pragmatic approach has been taken under consideration since it helps in acquiring positive knowledge regarding the topic of this research study.
As stated by Lohse (2017), this process help in getting the information based on experience, and thus, it has been interpreted as having sufficient logic and reason. The pragmatic approach is also used to gain authenticate knowledge about the usage of a mobile application for reducing the supermarket’s food wastage.
Since it is important to collect the information regarding the uses of the application by making a proper observation, therefore, these theories have been effective in conducting the research.
The pragmatic approach has helped in collecting the data based on experience regarding mobile apps. It has also helped in acquiring sufficient knowledge about the sources that are used in the development of this research paper.
The research approach is considered as a plan according to which data collection for research has been undertaken.
Based on the problem of research, the research approach has been followed that helps in properly analysing the collected data. Within the segregation of the research approach, there lies a deductive and inductive approach.
The deductive approach helps in resting the theory based on the requirements of the research problem.
In this research methodology regarding the usage of mobile applications for getting rid of the wastage of food, the research has taken up the decision of the inductive research approach.
Figure 3.4 Inductive approach
(Source: Peng &Pivato, 2019)
The inductive approach helps in identifying the research question which is followed by conducting research aim or objectives. Referring to the purpose of the inductive approach, the research has been able to conduct the research process properly.
Through this research approach, it has been surmised that how elevated companies can comply with various mobile applications for predicting the wastage of food.
Based on this theory, the problem of the research has been identified which is followed by the perception of the aim and objective of the research. According to Peng & Pivato (2019), after testing to the objectives of the research, the pattern of the research is identified with the inductive approach.
Finally, the theory based on the research problem is generated and the overall process helps in determining the progress of the research.
In this particular research, the inductive approach helps in identifying issues that have been created by the wastage of food and justifies the usage of various mobile applications through which many companies can build connections with the farmers and also able to reuse the wasted food.
Thus using inductive methods, it helped in the formation of a hypothesis based on the willingness of the managers to adopt external platforms to improve sales as well as reduce food wastage.
Research design is considered as the framework in the context of the method that helps in choosing multiple components for the research.
Through research design, the process of conducting research is evaluated so that the progress of the research is followed smoothly. Explanatory, exploratory and descriptive research design is included in the research design that helps in properly evaluating the research objective.
Explanatory design helps in understanding the research problem that has not been in previous research and it helps in understanding the research idea of the study.
Exploratory design helps in researching the depth and it provides flexible sources for the research making from the authentic journals and articles. Descriptive design helps in providing relevant information in an additional way and helps in progressing the research.
In the research, the exploratory design has been undertaken as it is the most suitable design concerning the objective of the research.
Figure 3.5 Research design
(Source: Fritsch et al, 2017)
Exploratory research helps in finding out different angles from the objective of the research. Based on the view of Fritsch et al (2017), it can be stated that the respective research is focused on finding ways that are suitable for getting rid of the wastage of food.
The exploratory research design has helped the research to find out the significance of problems and helps in investigating the ways through which the problems can be mitigated.
Exploratory research design helps in finding the issues related to the wastage of food and focused on developing strategies, the research has been able to provide instance upon the innovative strategies that have been undertaken by various supermarkets in the UK that results in the growth of the economy as well as less impact upon the environment.
Using the exploratory research design helped to assess the level of food wasted, different strategies used currently by the target managers of supermarkets in UK and their willingness to adopt technologies.
Figure 3.6 Research strategies
The research strategy is considered as an important tool that is used to produce effective planning to shape the path of the research.
It helps in developing the research by taking proper steps regarding action planning. Researching authenticating steps helps in researching a systematic way and thus helps in developing schedules for producing good results.
As per Bell, Bryman & Harley (2018), there are various types of research strategies such as survey-based, action-research based, experimental-based, case-study based, archival-research based.
In this research study, the archival research strategy and the action research strategy has been used.
The archival research strategy is considered an effective strategy since it is used in analysing the data that have already been collected in the past. This method helps in deriving genuine results for the chosen research topic.
The archival research strategy has been useful for this research paper since it has helped in gathering all the relevant documents that are required for this research paper which can be used to support the outlines of the secondary research.
The archival research strategy has also helped to figure out all the important changes that are associated with the issues involved in the research topic for a long time.
This strategy is used in understanding the importance of mobile applications for managing food wastes from the supermarket.
Moreover, this strategy has also helped in analysing the data regarding the uses of a mobile application that was published earlier.
According to the views of Seaborn &Fels (2015), the action-based research study has been used to solve the issues instantly and has also helped to develop and implement various strategies for focusing on the research.
Time is one of the most important aspects while conducting a research study as the limitation of time creates various barriers in deriving the results of the research.
Therefore, all the researchers need to understand the time horizon so that they can be able to remove all the constraints involved with time in the research study.
As said by Katrakazaset al. (2015), the period that is chosen for the selection of respondents and techniques of the research is very crucial to understand the success rate of the research study.
There are two types of time horizon, such as the longitudinal horizon and the cross-sectional time horizon. However, the studies involved with a cross-sectional time frame are limited; therefore, it becomes difficult to conduct the research smoothly.
The longitudinal horizon has been used in this research study to have a repetitive observation of the variables for a long duration.
This time horizon has been chosen since it has helped in looking at all the changes that the variables of this research paper have undergone. As stated by Neale (2015), it has helped in analyzing the developments that have taken place within long time duration.
The longitudinal time horizon has been chosen for this research study since it has helped in finding all the developments that are involved with the variable that is chosen for this research paper.
This method has helped the researchers to manage all the progress that has been involved with the variables for a long time. Repetitive observation of all the variables involved has helped to analyse the issues.
Based on the longitudinal time horizon it helped in choosing the target participants for the conduction of the study as well as the target supermarkets of UK.
Figure 3.7 Tools and techniques for research
By using various research tools and techniques, the research study can be carried out effectively. Various techniques are involved in conducting the research, which are interviews, tests, surveys, groups focus, and observation.
This segment is considered as the innermost step of the research onion, and it helps in gathering the effective techniques for carrying the research. In this step, the researcher makes sure that the data they have chosen will help in achieving the desired results.
According to the views of Ngulube (2015), the methods of data collection are given under qualitative techniques, and on the other hand, the sources of data are categorized into primary and secondary forms.
The procedures that are involved in the research study help locate the materials that are used in the conduction of research. It is also used in evaluating the chosen sources for the research.
Primary data are collected from the sources that are considered to be first-hand by using the interview techniques.
For collecting the primary data, 6 managers are interviewed, and they were asked regarding the importance of mobile application for preventing the wastage of food.
According to the views of Walliman, (2017), the importance of primary data is that it helps in collecting authentic information for fulfilling the purpose of the research study.
On the other hand, peer viewed articles and journals are also chosen for gathering secondary data. Since the primary data is time-consuming, therefore, the secondary research is also conducted, which helps in exploring the genuine data that are already available on the websites (Johnston, 2017).
Data collection methods
As stated by Vaismoradi et al. (2016), the qualitative method of data collection is very useful since it is used in collecting the authenticated data for the research.
The qualitative analysis for the primary research study is useful since it helps in collecting data from genuine managers who are possessing sufficient knowledge regarding the topic.
On the other hand, the secondary qualitative data are considered to be useful since the articles, journals, books and internet sources that are published are always genuine.
The current data assessment and collection techniques are a result of the research approach and the design chosen for the study.
Since and qualitative research design has been chosen it is imperative to understand the perspectives of the managers of the supermarkets with respect to various strategies used to reduce food wastages an their ability to adopt external platforms to share information of discounted foods that will otherwise go to waste.
Since a qualitative study is adopted, the data sources will mainly comprise of interviews as it will gather direct information to develop and theory. The data collection methods therefore comprised of open ended questionnaires.
Data validity of significantly important for the research since it assures that all the data that has been used in the research are authenticated and accurate.
As commented by Leung (2015), validity is applied for both the methods that are taken for the research and also the designs used. It means the findings of the research paper represent the authenticated phenomenon that has been measured.
The data is validated that has been used in conducting this research. The data that are used in this research study are collected with the help of government and genuine people who are possessing adequate knowledge about the usage of mobile applications in reducing food wastage.
In this research paper, all ethics are maintained. Data are gathered from the authenticated sources.
The journals that have been used for collecting secondary data are peer viewed, and they also consist of accurate information about the research topic. The proper citation has also been done so that the views and interests of the authors are in the proper position.
Moreover, the data that are gathered are reviewed various times to remain updated with all the details of the used variables. Data about all the managers that are interviewed for developing the research paper have also kept confidential way.
All the sources are revised properly to avoid the incorrect representation of the data.
The limitations that are associated with the research study are limited time as well as resources, and thus, it has reduced the scope of the research. The new findings have been constrained due to the unavailability of sufficient resources. Moreover, the budget is also an important factor for the research.
Misbalance in the budget has created various issues and limited the scope of including the information of variables from other sources. Moreover, there is also a limitation regarding the collection of data.
Since the time is limited, therefore, only six managers have been interviewed. It is essential to have sufficient time to interview the number of managers for getting genuine information regarding the mentioned issue.
From the above study in chapter three, it can be concluded that significant research methods are used to collect all the important data to complete the research. By outlining all the methods that have been used in this research study, it has been easier to understand all the steps that are involved in the development of this research. The pragmatic research philosophy has helped in getting authenticate knowledge regarding the topic. It has helped in gaining the real picture of the study by having proper observation regarding the issues. It helped in understanding various ways the mobile application can be used for reducing the wastage of supermarket food. By analysing the research strategies, it can be concluded that both the archival and the action-based study have helped in supporting the data that have been outlined from the secondary research. It has also been used in implementing various techniques to solve the issues that are present within the management of waste food. Exploratory method of design has been used for this research and thus helped in developing a design to analyse the issues that are present in the chosen topic for this research. After analysing the primary and secondary data, it has been easier to figure out all the issues and give authenticate solutions to resolve the issues. By maintaining all the ethics the prominence of this research has been increased.
Chapter 4: Data Analysis
4.1 Introduction to chapter
In this chapter, the findings from the data analysis have been presented. As mentioned in the previous section, a qualitative analysis has been conducted whereby 5 managers were interviewed and qualitative primary data were gathered. The managers were asked for various questions based on possibility and willingness of the supermarket managers and shift managers to share stock information in an external platform using a live mobile application to curtail food waste and thereby increase profitability for supermarkets. In this regard, the following chapter has been thematically implicated and presented the findings of the interview and then cross-referred to existing literature for relevance of the study.
4.2 Thematic analysis
Thematic assessment is the method under qualitative technique, where the researcher analyses and interpreted the responses given by the respondents through formulating relevant themes. For qualitative analysis, thematic analysis is used to identify the patterns in a dataset for providing the appropriate description of the possibility and willingness of the supermarket managers and shift managers to share stock information in an external platform using a live mobile application to curtail food waste and thereby increase profitability for supermarkets. This section deals with the thematic analysis of the interview questionnaire where 5 supermarket managers and shift managers with questions related to the type of food wasted, measures are taken to control food wasted, effectiveness of the measures, and willing to contribute towards measures for effectiveness of food wasted. The managers interviewed in this study are from Tesco, ASDA, Iceland, One Stop and One-Stop Amersham.
In addition, the interview also asks questions about the customer’s awareness, the products ordered online by the customers, information on unsold discounted products and others. The results are being interpreted qualitatively using content analysis method. There are themes and sub-themes in the section. There are three main themes of the study and each having additional sub-themes. The following table shows the list of themes and sub-themes.
The main themes of the study are;
|Main theme||Sub theme|
|Food wastage||Food wastage at the stores|
|Quantity of food wastage|
|Measures to control food wastage|
|Effectiveness of the measure|
|Awareness||Contribute towards saving food|
|Method to provide real-time information|
|Technology usage||Share information using an external platform|
|Support by staff arranging product ordered online|
|Delivering the products ordered online by the customers|
|Increase sales through a live mobile application|
Figure 4.1: Themes and sub themes
4.2.1 Theme 1: Food wastage
In this section 4 main aspects were asked, one was the type and categories of food wasted and the other was the level of food wasted. The other two were; the measures they have taken to mitigate the loss of food or food wastage and the effectiveness of the measure taken. The types and categories of food wasted are based on the shelf life of the products as well as from the time of production to household consumption (FAO, 2011). Food wastage at stores occurs at the distribution level as well as consumption level and is usually classified as vegetable commodities and products and animal commodities and products. Based on the assessment of the interviewees, food wastage according to ASDA manager “We have information on finger tips we can get every morning I can get previous days store performance. That’s including the availability waste and wages and key carriages.” This implicated that they have awareness about the concept of food wastage and keep a daily track of the type of food that comes to the store everyday and the type of food and also know the type of food that needs to be sold om daily basis. In addition, it was also stated that “So on fresh waste we target at least 80% to be marked down and sold to customers” by the ASDA manager indicating that on an average 20% of the food usually goes to the trash. Similar implications were made by the managers of Tesco, Iceland, One Stop and One-Stop Amersham, whereby they attempt to sell majority of the day to day basis foods and try to reduce food wastage or on an average 20% of the foods are wasted. In order to understand the types of food and level and the strategies used, the following sub themes were formed.
Figure 4.2: Theme 1: Food wastage
Food wastage at the stores
In the first subtheme under food wastage, the interviewees were asked about the type and categories of food get wasted at their stores. Waste, loss or spoilage of food is an efficiency and management issue and is considered as a major issue globally. Based on the interviewees, manager from One Stop Amersham implicated that the food mostly wasted were sandwiches, ready meat, milk and other grocery materials, whereas, manager from fresh food, meat, poultry, dairy, vegetables and grocery materials. However, manager from Iceland indicated that frozen grocery and other items are not easily spoilt but there are some products that even after freezing get spoilt. The manager from One Stop and ASDA implicated that fresh food, perishable items, and food that has limited shelf life.
Based on the interviewees it was also implicated that food mostly wasted have a shelf life of 1 to 7 days. Dairy products like milk and grocery, fruits, fresh products all come under food that easily gets spoilt. This is in line with the study of FAO, (2011) perishable products and foods from stores mostly comprise of vegetables, fresh meat, fishes, milk, cold-pressed drinks, fruits and a few others.
Quantity of food wastage
In this sub-theme, the managers were asked about the level of food wastage from their stores. According to the manager of ASDA, “We are targeting total waste as a store; we are not expecting that to be not more than 0.17% or 2% of our total sales. If you segregate for fresh items we are targeting around 5% and for ambient it’s 0.5%.” This clearly indicates the level of food wasted which is mostly minimal at 0.17% or 2%, whereas fresh foods get wasted at a percentage of 5% on a daily basis. These daily based fresh foods mainly include bread, milk, fruits, vegetables, meats and others which were also implicated in the previous section whereby the ASDA manager answered about the types of food wasted. On the other hand Tesco indicated that mostly the fresh foods get wasted by the end of the sales, however, they try to reduce it by selling it to the employees of Tesco at free costs under discount card possessions. The answer by the manager of Tesco is the same as that of ASDA, as most common type of food wasted is daily fresh foods. However, Iceland which deals with only frozen foods indicated that they have low wastage of foods as frozen foods have high shelf lives and usually 1% of daily sales get wasted. Similarly, managers of One Stop and One Stop Amersham also said that they have low wastage of food because local people usually buy all the products and only a few times whenever there is increased stock the loss of vegetables, daily products and others get wasted.
The assessment from the interview stands that the wastage of foods in imperative in any type of store, be it a store that only provides frozen food or stores that provide fresh foods. However, supermarkets with easily wasted products like fruits, milk, bread or fermented products are wasted although there is low food wastage of frozen foods and foods sold on a daily basis. The level may also increase if there are miss management and improper inventory management like the manager of One Stop implicated. Similarly, the report of Wrap, (2019) indicated that the UK alone, retailers and wholesalers produce around 1.7 million tonnes of food waste each year.
Methods to manage food wastage
In this section, the managers were asked about existing management methods used to mitigate food wastage. In this aspect, the manager of Iceland stated that “Based on our sales the business will only send in food that we would sell within a certain amount of time. So they wouldn’t overload the stores to the point of we’re not actually going to sell it. So they based our sales on the stock levels that they send.” In this aspect, the statement implicated that they try to efficiently manage its stocks and inventories so that overproduction is reduced. Increased stocks lead to loss of food. Therefore, the manager implicated that they maintain and manage an efficient inventory system and efficiently manage its demand-supply chain. Again, Tesco uses a different strategy to manage by taking three-step evaluations and reduction of food displayed in the stores. This can be related to the report by The Sun, (2018) whereby supermarts sticks ‘yellow reduced’ tag that allows the customers to buy the product at 75% off the retail price. These reduced products according to the interviewee are products with limited shelf life or daily products. The food wastage management as mentioned by the manager of ASDA includes Stock rotation and stock storage, first in first out daily checking of products, stock management and follow the method of reverse logistics to reuse the perished products.
Based on these interviewees, it can be linked to Sainsbury’s, the UK-based supermarket retailer, generates power for 500 homes in a biomass power plant in Scotland (The Guardian, 2014). Apart from the obvious financial benefits, reducing food waste can therefore also play a part in helping retailers to achieve their own sustainability targets. The interviewees can also be linked to previous studies whereby supermarkets usually try to sell the products that have limited shelf life at lower prices, management of the stocks and inventories and reverse logistics that allows the companies like beverages, cattle feed and others to recycle the products (The Sun, 2018). The method can also be linked to Tesco’s use of the FareShare FoodCloud app enabling reduction of food waste and support local communities (Tesco, 2018).
Effectiveness of the methods
In this section, the effectiveness of the methods used by them has been presented. All the managers indicated that the strategies used by their organisation have been effective. One such has been indicated by the manager of Iceland said that “They are good. In order to lower waste numbers and this started two months ago and it’s officially started. It’s probably saved the business probably about 2.5 million.” In addition, it was also implicated and highlighted that they try to sell all the products but when they fail they try to conduct reverse logistics and even give out the foods for free to charities and poor people. Thus, based on the methods used by the managers of Tesco, ASDA, Iceland, One Stop and One Stop Amersham all are effective to some level and try their best to reduce the percentage of food wastage. This is also stated from the report by Petter, (2019) that Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Unilever have planned and strategized to halve food waste by 2030 in the UK.
4.2.2 Theme 2: Awareness
The main aim in this segment was to identify the willingness to contribute towards saving food from going in to waste of the store managers, awareness of the customers with respect to offers and discounts and if there is any usage of the system to provide real-time information. This main theme has three sub-themes. The awareness is based on the manager’s willingness to contribute towards saving food from going in to waste, customer awareness about offers and discounts regularly displayed at your store and system to provide real-time information about discounts and other information. Awareness has been mentioned as the main theme because three main aspects of the knowledge of the customers and the managers have been informed in this segment. This means increased knowledge of the consumers will help in reducing the leftover stocks from supermarkets which in turn will help in reducing the food wastage.
Figure 4.3: Theme 2: Awareness
Willingness to contribute towards saving food
Manager of Iceland says, “We all managers are willing to do anything rather than it gets put in the bins.” Similar implications were made by the managers of ASDA and Tesco, that they are willing to take any step to reduce the wastage of food. However, only managers of One-Stop Amersham denied that there are no such strategies to reduce the wastage of food but they follow the daily procedure of selling daily products and reduce the amount of food wastage. Again, the manager of ASDA implicated that although they are willing to contribute towards the control of food wastage, so they have for now collaborated with Trussell Trust that takes away all the leftover foods and foods that have low shelf life. The manager’s willingness also shows relevance to one of their programmes, ‘FIGHT HUNGER’ that allows collaboration with all food banks in the UK region to take away the foods that are deemed to do to waste in the same day or the next few days.
These implications by the managers clearly show the willingness of the managers as well as the increased responsibilities of the supermarkets towards efforts to reduce food wastage. The statements can also be linked to the report by Lifegate, (2017) indicated that the supermarkets and other stores in the UK region have reduced the amount of food wastage by 20,000 tonnes as of 2013 and 180,000 tonnes in 2014. Another report by British Retail Consortium, (2015) showed in their report how major supermarkets like ASDA has a special team that looks after the looks after the right stock for the right place at the right time to reduce excess or abundance of inventory or stocks and reduce food wastes. Similar implications were made by the ASDA manager whose sole intention was to help reducing food wastage.
Customers awareness with respect to offers and discounts
In this section, the managers were asked if their customers were informed about offers and discounts regularly displayed at your store. In this aspect Tesco manager said that “It’s not as great, it’s only the regular ones that knows what time the final reduction goes, so usually you get to find they are the one who come in between 6.00 -6.30 they come and hover in and around until the final reduction comes out but as a normal shopper they just come in to the shop and what they sees as reduced, they will take it. If they don’t want it, they don’t take it.” This clearly implicates that customers have low awareness on the product reductions as mentioned in the previous sections. Only the consumers who are daily customers of the Tesco have knowledge about the discounts and offers on products. Based on the interviewees it may also be implicated from the statements of Iceland and ASDA that coupon discount is usually not known amongst occasional consumers but most of the daily users use these coupons, moreover, daily customers buy different types of coupons, buy coupons because of the lower price and the relevance of the offer.
According to Tesco, they mention that majority of the items are usually reduced because they are about to go out of date, the goods are damaged or no longer being sold they reveal the best time to hit the local supermarket to pick up the bargains. Reductions start around 7 pm and most have gone by 9 pm. Final reductions at 6.30 pm in stores that close at 7 pm and 8 pm at stores that close at 9 pm. Some items marked down due to sell-by date after lunchtime rush (Lifegate, 2017). This also implicates that reductions at 8 am, others don’t start until early evening. This is common information known amongst all Tesco consumers. Again, the manager of ASDA also highlighted that “The regular customers know what time the discounts are done and where they are displayed.” Thus, this is at par the statements given by the Tesco manager. Similarly, manager of Iceland mentioned that they are not sure if the consumers are aware about the discounts but they put their efforts in marketing and advertisements to aware the customers about the discounts and offers. Therefore, the awareness of the customers is biased as actual level of awareness can only be understood by further studies in a similar field.
Method to provide real-time information
Manager of ASDA says, “Not a system no, we don’t have a system. It’s just reduced normal way when they see the reduction they just come in and take it.” As per other statements, indicated that nobody has live real-time information about discounts and other offers to the customers. However, they usually provide online information on their websites. In addition, they mention the use of reduction strategies that helps in informing consumers about different discounts. Using generic methods as website publish and an online method allows informing about discounts and offers.
Again, the manager of ASDA indicated that “Unfortunately I can’t make that decision. It’s a corporate decision. So you have to go to head office, somebody high era needs to make that decision.” This means the usage of real-time information is a strategy and is dependent on management decisions. This is in line to the research problem of the study whereby it was mentioned that there is a lack of real time platform that keeps on informing the customers and other stakeholders about the stock and discounts on foods in stock and which foods have low shelf life. Although it is worth mentioning that Tesco uses the platform FoodCloud that allows information sharing on leftover foods in the stores to charities and NGOs that reduces the loss of food in turn (The Sun, 2018). However, this is not related to real-time sharing of discounts on leftover foods with the customers, unlike the Karma app in Sweden which allows live sharing of information on food stock and leftovers and discounts and offers on them that allows increased sales as well as reduced waste of foods.
4.2.3 Theme 3: Technology usage
Technological growth allows the supermarkets to take help of the most advanced analytical techniques and applies them to the stores for reduction of food wastage. Technologies allow managing store inventory the smart way, always having control over your supply, inventory, and pricing. Therefore, this section asks about sharing information using an external platform, support by staff arranging product ordered online, delivering the products ordered online by the customers and increase sales through a live mobile application. There are 4 sub-themes in this segment.
Figure 4.4: Theme 3: Technology usage
Share information using an external platform
In this sub-theme, the managers were asked if they were willing to consider adoption of technologies. In this regard manager of Tesco stated that “Yeah, I think the company would like to do it. It would be a long process because always technology has to build over that sort of stuff. I think company would like to do that just to stop food waste ago.” The statement implicates the willingness of the managers or the management of Tesco to use the help of external platforms to share information about the stock and discounts as mentioned in previous themes. It has also been implicated that Tesco uses the platform Foodcloud that allows information sharing on leftover foods in the stores to charities and NGOs that reduces the loss of food in turn. This may be the reason that Tesco is ready to take on technologies for sharing information of stocks so that stakeholders like food banks, charities, and customers may utilise the benefits towards reducing food wastage and efficient inventory management (Tesco, 2018). Again, manager of One Stop highlighted the negative aspect of using external tools to share information about stocks by stating that “I don’t think they’ll share all their stock information if you know what I mean, but I think there will be open minded us to new apps and platforms that are available.” This clearly shows that sharing stock information will cause increased competition with respect to sales and increased discounts. However, the managers and management of One Stop look to adopt external tools to inform about stock information but are not confident to share all the information. This may be linked to reduced facilities to consumers who come to store and not order online deliveries of food. The managers from other supermarkets also indicated that they would like to adopt external platforms like Tesco and other major super marketed has pledged to reduce the food wastage by half.
Support by the staff of the supermarkets
In this regard, the managers were asked about the role the staff was willing to take to put an extra effort in reserving the product ordered online and arranging for collection as a strategy to reduce the amount of food wastage. Based on the assessment of the interviewees, manager of ASDA implicated that “That will be difficult; I can see lot of problems. One is customers will reserve them and they will not collect that means it’s wasted and nobody will have it. That will prevent the customers who are already on the shop floor to buy that product.” This means that the supermarket managers are not sure about the use of online information systems as they fear that the customers will still not use these leftover. It is implicated from the interviewees that tackling food losses and food waste today would accomplish more than simply increasing the availability of food to feed our growing population. It would also improve the sustainability of our food supply chains, increase the resilience of our grocery-retailing businesses, and lead to innovation (Petter, 2019). Technology can be a catalyst of behavioral change, a facilitator of collaborative relationships along the supply chain, and a tool for information exchange and transparency to avoid food waste. Based on other interviewees all employees are mandated and acknowledged about food wastage issues and strategies to mitigate them. However a few challenges were indicated like the manager of One Stop states that “It depends on how much storage space we’ve got. Also its busy periods sometimes we wouldn’t like to be able to do this with the stuff you got. Because sometimes some of our shifts will have only two people and things like that are more important than need to be done in some way. But yeah, I think we should be able to manage if it did happen.” Online deliveries by the staff are not always possible and hence these supermarkets have dedicated online shops that take orders within dedicated delivery personnel that deliver the products at the doorsteps.
Delivering the products ordered online
In this regard the best information was given by the manager of Tesco, “Of the store we have got click to collect and we also got the home shopping, so we got a system whereby we can go and drop in the shopping to the customers’ house. Also we got a system whereby the customer can come and pick their shopping what they want and they can pay from here.” According to the manager they along with other supermarket managers to have online stores and they used them solely for delivering products. However, some implicated that they only deliver online when the orders are in bulk or large orders as it is a matter of profitability. The normal strategy is that whenever they get orders and executive is assigned and they check the order and the delivery in no time (British Retail Consortium, 2017). The manager from Iceland also indicated that they have specific procedure to take online orders. Thus, all the supermarkets have dedicated online options but not for discounted products with low shelf life.
In this segment, the managers were asked if they believed that using their online platforms to sell products with low shelf life would be profitable. In this regard, the manager of Iceland stated that “Yes, definitely. Because if we are not able to sell it and to the point of it could potentially be put it in the bin. If the company could sell it on, it’s all money in their pockets. If something would be introduced that would work and if you see the benefit of it then I would say it’s worth a gamble but the business will have to look at the bigger picture. When you are looking at the bigger businesses it’s a different ball of game for them.” Similar implications were made by other managers too. The statements clearly indicate the willingness of the managers to adopt this strategy of selling products with limited shelf life at discounted prices over online platforms. They believe that it will not only improve the sale of the stores but also improve the wastage of products. However, some managers are of the opinion that there are issues in this system as they have collaborations with other charities and food banks and therefore not all leftover products can be sold online. In addition, there is a big chance that this model may fail as they haven’t used this model before or in the UK (British Retail Consortium, 2017). Therefore, there is mixed reaction in this aspect even though they believe this method is profitable.
This chapter presented the findings from the transcripts of the qualitative analysis. It was found that fresh products get spoilt mostly and they use most common strategy of reduced products policy. In addition, the strategies of reverse logistics and collaborations with charities are other strategies used by the supermarkets. However, only Tesco uses an online platform to share information on food stock with low shelf life. The interviewees also highlighted that they all have an online option for consumers to order food online but still haven’t used the same platform to sell discounted products with low shelf life. In addition, there is a mixed reaction with respect to adoption of technologies as there has not been any pilot study on the same and there are certain challenges related to feasibility and company privacy. However, the managers are willing to adopt live sharing platforms to share information on food stacks as a strategy to reduce food wastage as well as improve profitability.
Chapter 5: Conclusions, Recommendations and Future Scope
5.1 Introduction to the chapter
In this segment of the study, the aspects from the literature and the qualitative study have been presented and the research questions have been addressed. The chapter has presented the limitations, the conclusion and the research questions have been addressed. In addition, the chapter also presents
The current study has been conducted to assess the quantity of loss faced by the supermarkets due to the wastage of food and the possibility and willingness of the supermarkets in UK towards the reduction of food wastage through live mobile application. Based on the literature it has been found that UK is one of the countries that contributed to millions of tons of food wastage from supermarkets and stores only. It was also assumed from the literature that the main research problem in this field of study is that there is lack of literature on the methods and strategies that these supermarkets of UK adopt to curtail and reduce food wastages. In addition, with the rise of technology there is lack of literature that indicates if the use of external platforms and mobile apps can help the supermarkets to reduce the content of food wastage and even increase the sales of the consumers. Therefore the main aim of the current study was to conduct a ground study using qualitative methods to understand the methods already in use by the major supermarkets of UK and if they are willing to adopt mobile applications to share live information about leftover foods or foods with low shelf life which will otherwise go to wastage.
The qualitative analysis comprised of few main aspects that have been addressed here like whether the managers are willing to share information on an external platform, the possibility to adopt such models and alternative models that follow to reduce food wastage. Based on the evidence of the interviews it is imperative that the food that mainly goes to waste is daily fresh foods, foods with limited shelf lives, various beverages and preserved foods. On average the loss of food is somewhere around 5-10% of the total daily sales of different forms of products. In this regard it was found from the interviews that currently all the supermarkets; Tesco, ASDA, Iceland, One Stop Amersham and One Stop uses different methods and strategies to reduce the percentage of food wastage. However, unlike other medium category supermarts, Tesco has already started using FoodCloud application allowing all the branches of Tesco to share the status of different food products and leftover from daily sales to charities and food banks that allows them to collect the food and reduce wastage. Similarly, Tesco also allows its employees to take away the leftover or food with low shelf life for free. However, not all the managers agree to the use of technologies for sharing of stock information and discounts. The primary reason being that it was not the manager’s choice to implement these strategies indicating management based issues; secondly the use of applications is not feasible for smaller stores like ASDA and One Stop to adopt such technologies, even though they are willing to adopt such strategies. The managers indicate various opportunities as well as challenges of using these tools. One advantage is that it will decrease the dependency on product reduction strategy and will allow the consumers, charities and others to purchase to be wasted food items at a very low cost and sometimes even free. However, disadvantages, as expected by the managers, is that cancellation on online orders causes the food to go to waste, increased competitiveness if all the stock information is shared on online platforms, lack of people or customers who will use these apps and use of application may also be costly. This also implicates that some managers are not willing to adopt technologies as it leads to training costs, application costs and lack of expertise will also lead to poor reduction of food wastage and customer services.
Based on the interviewees it is also implicative that not all managers are willing to provide or deliver the products online as there is a high chance that the customers will go on cancelling the products. This will also cause the regular customers to choose other stores as the food product may already get booked. On the other hand, some managers are determined that using live apps will enable to sell the products with low shelf life. However, they also worry about the issue of stick management. Since they believe in efficient stock management, all products cannot be put up for online delivery as many charities and food banks have their collaborations. Some supermarkets already have online stores that take only online orders for delivery, the matter of online delivery is not an issue but the challenges related to this process. In addition, the managers also worry that there are many consumers that worry about health effects of the reduced products and hence they opt not to buy them. Therefore, it can be implicated from the interviews that there is a mixed reaction amongst the managers and even though they believe it will help none of them has still applied this strategy.
In this regard, the managers indicate the use of the following strategies. Reverse logistics whereby all wasted foods go back to the supply chain and end up as recycled products. Similarly, some managers believe that the normal method of product reduction system is efficient enough to reduce food wastage. Again, a manager also implicates the use of hoarding and advertisements about discounts offered o reduced products, provide with discount coupons and others to improve sales of the leftover products and also reduce the food wastage. However, Tesco continues to use live application either because they are one of the largest supermarkets and have huge funds or they are willing to shift to alternate procedures. Thus it can be implicated form the interviews that even though the managers are willing to adopt different technologies to share live information of stock, there are various challenges that deny the adoption. Although they believe it will improve the sales and profits but certain challenges as mentioned above hinders the adoption.
- Managers and supermarket decision-makers of UK must come up with a sufficed solution and a common platform that allows publishing of stock information.
- Reduced products must be limited to weekdays or weekends based on the sale of most common products.
- Training and mentoring for the adoption of live sharing technologies and increase the funds for the adoption of the technology.
- Train employees for conduction of awareness programmes amongst all consumers about different reduced product policy, discounted product policy, reduction of food wastage and others.
5.4 Future scope
In the future studies, the current study must be used as a scope to understand the perspectives of the consumers as well as policy makers with respect to feasibility of strategising adoption of technologies in the UK to reduce food wastage.
In addition, further studies must focus on both qualitative and qualitative studies that allow the triangulation of different concepts and perspectives around food wastage and profitability from the use of technology as strategy.
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