Practices for Food Waste Reduction in the Digital Age

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Roberta PALTRINIERI, University of Bologna, Italy
Stefano SPILLARE, University of Bologna, Italy
Lucia MARCIANTE, University of Bologna, Italy
Umberto MEZZACAPO, University of Bologna, Italy
While world population is substantially increasing, the current global market system is unable to provide effective solutions for the optimal allocation of scarce food resources (treated just like other commodities), meantime local farming systems urgently need to mitigate and adapt to climate change and the basic inadequacy of transnational policy concerning nutrition, make the food waste along the entire production and consumption chain an ever increasingly priority.

Such issue regards especially rich Western countries, where the phenomenon is not only more severe, but it becomes an ethical and social problem increasingly urgent because of the persistence of the economic crisis and the growth of inequality.

In Italy there many social initiatives to tackle such issue are being developed. The most successful are those ones that took action especially downline the distribution chain, between sale and final consumption: initiatives like Food Bank or Last Minute Market tend to develop win win network, of a social and solidarity nature, between Large-Scale Retail Trade and civil associations, while as for domestic consumption, the initiatives mostly involve education and awareness communicative actions.

The new paradigm introduced by the development of digital social networks, however, fostered innovative practices mediated by web platforms and aimed at reducing domestic food waste by means of supplying and sharing food. An example is ifoodshare.org or scambiacibo.it, which constitute a kind of extended self-organized distribution between citizens.

The objective of this work is therefore to explore the potential of this new form of distribution through a qualitative survey aimed at such digital platforms managers and organizers and users-citizens who use them, trying to highlight models of use/utilization, modality of participation, motivation, limitations and emerging social effects.