Food Waste


Managing the Worst of all Wastes, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 15 Mar 2019


Call for Papers
Special Issue on “Managing the Worst of all Wastes: Food Waste”
Deadline: March 15, 2019

About a third of food gets wasted before we eat it. This is highly problematic ethically, environmentally, as well as economically. According the International Food Waste Coalition, if food waste were its own country, it would be one of the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. If only one fourth of that waste was saved, it would be sufficient to feed 870 million people, 12% of the global population, and more than currently go hungry. According to the FUSION project, in Europe alone the 88 million tons of food wasted cost about EUR 143 billion (

Managing any kind of waste is challenging. Managing food waste is perhaps the most difficult of all wastes, since it is extremely time sensitive, wrought not only with economic and environmental but also with ethical issues. What we can learn about managing food waste will hold wider lessons for other kinds of waste.

Tackling food waste requires collaboration along vertical and horizontal value chains, including a wide variety of profit-oriented, non-profit, and governmental stakeholders. Two broad lines of intervention are possible. The first is about re-distributing waste either before it is too late (i.e. before the food’s best-before date, so that it can be eaten), or by denaturalizing it (e.g. by transforming food into biofuel). The second is preempting food waste from happening. In both cases, time is the enemy, and technology is the ally. In particular, innovations in information and communication technology significantly reduce transaction costs, but require seamless organization of all stakeholders involved.

This special issue topic is at the intersection of traditional IMM topics as well as newer areas, including supply chain management, information technology and information systems, ethics, sustainability, agribusiness, and social marketing. As such we expect contributions from a wide range of scholars, covering different theoretical perspectives and using different approaches to tackle the problems at hand. The proposed special issue sets out to explore questions such as:

  • Where, when, and why is food wasted?
  • How do members of food supply chains prevent and minimize food waste?
  • Which strategies, approaches, and tools help solve wicked problems, such as food waste?
  • How should different stakeholders (e.g. companies, NGOs, governmental institutions, etc.) work together to prevent and minimize food waste?
  • How should food supply chains be configured to prevent or minimize food waste?
  • Which capabilities do organizations need in order to prevent food waste?
  • How can IT and digital solutions contribute to food waste prevention and minimization?
  • What best practices in food waste management exist?

Deadline: March 15, 2019

Submission Procedures:

To submit a paper please visit the IMM editorial website register as an author and submit the paper as the website will instruct you. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select SI: Food Waste. All queries about the special issue should be sent to the Guest Editors (see below).

Special Issue Guest Editors:

Professor Michael Gibbert, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland

Professor Björn S. Ivens, University of Bamberg, Germany

Dr. Alexander Leischnig, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom


Gollnhofer, J. F. (2017). Normalising alternative practices: The recovery, distribution and consumption of food waste. Journal of Marketing Management, 33(7-8), 1-20.

Lundie, S. & Peters, G. M. (2005). Life cycle assessment of food waste management options. Journal of Cleaner Production, 13(3), 275-286

Papargyropoulou, E., Lozano, R., Steinberger, J. K., Wright, N., & bin Ujang, Z. (2014). The food waste hierarchy as a framework for the management of food surplus and food waste. Journal of Cleaner Production, 76, 106-115.

Parfitt, J., Barthel, M., & Macnaughton, S. (2010). Food waste within food supply chains: Quantification and potential for change to 2050. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 365(1554), 3065-3081.

Smil, V. (2000). Feeding the world: Challenge for the 21st century. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.