Digital Traceability Architecture for Managing Waste in Food Supply Chains

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


This proposed PhD project aims to develop and test a digital traceability architecture
framework to facilitate food waste management in the global food system. In the UK alone, food
waste is estimated at £13 billion each year,
1 larger than the pharmaceuticals industry.
2 For example,
we throw away 6 million potatos a day.
3 Food waste is directly linked to green house gas emissions;
in fact, food waste contributes 15 times more carbon dioxide emissions than food packaging waste,
despite the latter receiving significantly more media attention. It is also estimated the total global
food waste could feed 1 billion people who are currently living without regular access to food.
There is uncertainty surrounding the nature of food waste, its location is not always in line
with international expectations. Waste strategies that food manufacturers adopt to incorporate
waste management into their supply chain are not clear in literature. Supply chain perspectives in
waste generation illustrate that waste can occur at any step of the chain from farming, through
procurement and distribution, and even during transfers between these stages and storage.
Therefore, the first objective of the proposed project is to conduct a study on relationships between
food product categories and waste types, with a specific focus on the case of potatos. Overall the
project will focus on:
I. Developing an approach to assess the potato-waste nexus
II. Mapping the potato end-to-end supply chain
III. Identifying waste hot-spots and related reduction oppurtunities
IV. Identifying and exploring best waste mitigation practices which are (or could be) applied to
similar food product supply networks


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S513775/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2024
2277398 Studentship EP/S513775/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Rob Glew