Several studies have recalled the need to reduce food waste across all the stages of the food supply chain. To undertake effective intervention strategies for food waste prevention and reduction, it is important to better understand the main causes of this phenomenon. In this study, a wide range of factors potentially related to food waste generation in primary school canteens were analysed. The data was obtained from a large-scale study carried out involving 78 Italian primary schools, where the food waste occurring at lunchtime was measured on 11,518 diners, for a total of almost 110,000 meals. The assessment included the quantification of prepared food, plate leftovers and non-served food, which were all weighed with an electronic scale and measured separately for each meal course. The food rejected by diners and the quantity of food remaining unserved at the end of the lunch were studied against a set of potential factors, including the location and size of the school, the location of the kitchen, the type of menu provided to diners, the quantity of food prepared and served. Findings obtained through the analyses of the single variables show that most of the variables have a role in influencing the quantity of food that remains non-consumed. Multivariate models were used to assess the relative importance of the factors over the quantity of food waste. The foodservice provider emerges as the most significant factor in influencing the generation of food waste at schools; other relevant factors are the amount of food prepared and the serving size, the kitchen location, the food provided for the mid-morning break, the menu composition and the geographical area.
- M. Boschinia, L. Falasconi, C. Cicatiello, S. Fran