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Appendix C Additional Information on Food Waste T his appendix focuses on the defining and estimating food loss and food waste. After laying out the basics of the various definitions and the challenges and efforts to standardize those terms, the rest of the appendix presents an overview of methods to estimate food loss and food waste and examples of programs to reduce food loss and food waste. In addition, the appendix includes selected resources and efforst by stakehold- ers in the United States. The appendix focuses primarily on consumer-level food waste. ESTIMATING FOOD LOSS AND FOOD WASTE Defining Food The definition of âfoodâ is key to most definitions of food loss and food waste. It is common for âfood intended for human consumptionâ to be used to differentiate between food materials included and excluded. Food materials grown for nonfood uses (e.g., ethanol production or animal feed) and inedible parts of plants (e.g., corn stalks) are excluded. There is a differentiation between âassociated inedible parts,â which tend to be harvested alongside the edible parts (e.g., corn husks), and âinedible parts,â which are unlikely to be harvested (e.g., corn stalks). Other unintended or unmarketable parts of plants (e.g., small ears of corn) or loss from natural causes are sometimes included (Spang et al., 2019). After the definition of food is determined, there are three major differ- ences that delineate the definition of food loss and food waste: (1) stages 181
182 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE of the supply chain included (e.g., on-farm losses are sometimes excluded); (2) inclusion or exclusion of associated edible parts (e.g., the U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture [USDA] excludes associated inedible parts while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] includes them); and (3) end- of-life/discard destinations included (e.g., sometimes only landfill/incinera- tion is considered food waste) (Spang et al., 2019). The many definitions and terms for food loss and food waste (Roodhuyzen et al., 2017) make comparisons between studies difficult (Bellemare et al., 2017; Ãstergren et al., 2014; Spang et al., 2019). To reduce this difficulty, an international ac- counting and reporting standard was created to standardize reporting, and it requires a clear description of the boundaries of quantification (Hanson et al., 2016). Additionally, FUSIONS (Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strategies), a project of the European Union, released a definitional framework, clearly defining suggested boundaries for food loss and food waste (Ãstergren et al., 2014). Sometimes âfood lossâ and âfood wasteâ are distinguished from each other, although there are multiple ways in which they have been defined: (1) food loss as occurring upstream in the food supply chain and food waste as occurring at retail and consumer levels; (2) food waste as a subset of food loss; or (3) food loss as involuntary and food waste as voluntary. There are also other less common differentiations, such as wasted food (edible) and food scraps (inedible) or edible and inedible. Edibility (and avoidability), however, is not a fixed characteristic of food, but is based on biological/ physical, social, cultural, and technological factors. Another term that is found in the literature, ingestibility (or digestibility), is not appropriate because many things are ingestible, for example lemon rind, but have un- pleasant taste or texture or can become ingestible with enough processing (Gillick and Quested, 2018; Nicholes et al., 2019). Distinguishing between edible and associated inedible parts is important because it is generally acknowledged that these parts have different underlying reasons for being discarded; food waste prevention programs tend to focus on the avoidable or edible fraction of food waste while the inedible parts are targeted for composting or other valuable disposal streams. Another term, rescuable, refers to whether a food was safe to eat at the time of discard (e.g., moldy lasagna is considered edible but not rescuable). Overview of Methods to Estimate Food Loss and Food Waste Measurement and quantification are used to establish baselines, es- timate impacts, identify areas for intervention or âhot spots,â and track progress over time. Quantification and measurement of food loss and waste has greatly increased in the last decade (Xue et al., 2017).
APPENDIX C 183 The different purposes of measurement may require different levels of granularity or accuracy. The most common metric, expressed in total vol- ume or as proportion, is mass (weight) although volume, monetary value, or cost and nutritional value (e.g., calories) are also used. The impacts of food loss and waste that are commonly explored are water use, energy use, influence on nutrient cycling, pollution and toxic material production, biodiversity loss, and land use change. Given the recent proliferation of food waste estimates, there has been a call for standardization in quantification to enable comparison and track progress toward global, national, and regional goals (Xue et al., 2017), and multiple organizations have published guidances (Hanson et al., 2016; Quested, 2019; Tostivint et al., 2016). Notably, the Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard was developed by an international group of experts and provides guidance on quantification, including a template to clearly define the boundaries of quantification (Hanson et al., 2016). Despite the proliferation of estimates of food loss and waste at national and subnational levels, as well as for various stages along the food supply chain, there are major limitations in the current data. According to Xue et al. (2017) over half of the studies they reviewed were based on secondary data, signaling high uncertainties. In addition to the lack of primary data, outdated data are also frequently used. As mentioned above on definitions, significant variation in system boundaries and methodologies for quanti- fication make comparisons and verification difficult (Hanson et al., 2016; Spang et al., 2019; Xue et al., 2017). Xue et al. (2017) suggest addressing this issue by creating a database that uses a common reporting framework to improve consistency and comparison. Broadly, quantification methods at the consumer level are categorized into those that directly measure discarded food and those that quantify other metrics (e.g., total food production or food consumption) to estimate the amount of food waste (see Table C-1). Common direct methods are waste composition analyses, weighing studies, diaries, surveys (e.g., Stefan et al., 2013; Visschers et al., 2016), and records (e.g., waste bills). Com- mon indirect methods are food balance models and use of proxy data as commonly used methods (Moreno et al., 2020; Roodhuyzen et al., 2017; Xue et al., 2017). Many of these methods have differences in the information they provide (e.g., ability to provide granular data, drivers), representativeness of the data (e.g., communities, states, households), or whether they are self-reported data. Self-reported data from diaries, surveys, and some records (e.g., waste bills) are often subject to more bias associated with gaining a representa- tive sample (e.g., bias in participation), accurate reporting (e.g., lapses in memory or intentional omissions), and changes in behavior as a result of
184 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE TABLE C-1â Most Common Methods for Estimating Wasted Food at the Consumer Level Accuracy, Objectivity, and Method Description Information Consumer Level Reliability Direct Measurements Weighing Scales; used in Less able to provide Populations High food service granular data; settings objective Diaries Daily records; Better able to Individuals Medium used for provide granular households and data, with added commercial information about kitchens drivers; self-reported but likely more accurate than surveys Surveys Questionnaires; Better able to Individuals Medium used for provide granular households data, with added information about drivers; self-reported Records (e.g., Nonfood waste- Less able to provide Individuals and Medium waste bills) related data; used granular data; populations for households as self-reported when well as retail and measuring it at manufacturing household level businesses Observation Visual estimation Less able to provide Populations Low or counting the granular data; number of items estimaed wasted Indirect Measurements Modeling Using Less able to provide Populations Low mathematical granular data accuracy and models reliability; medium objectivity
APPENDIX C 185 TABLE C-1âContinued Accuracy, Objectivity, and Method Description Information Consumer Level Reliability Food Balance Using a food Less able to provide Populations Medium Models balance sheet granular data accuracy and or human reliability; metabolism high based on inputs, objectivity outputs, and stocks along the food supply chain Proxy Data Using data Less able to provide Populations Medium from companies granular data accuracy and or statistical reliability; agencies; for high scaling data objectivity to produce aggregated estimates reporting the data. However, some data are hard to obtain without self- reporting (e.g., information on drain disposal of food waste). Certain types of self-reported data (e.g., weighing or a kitchen diary) are considered more accurate than others, such as surveys, which ask people to recall how much food they wasted in the previous day or week or estimate how much they waste âon average.â Diaries and photo journals have been found to under- estimate household-level food waste (van Herpen et al., 2019), but surveys and recalls are less accurate than diaries (Thompson and Subar, 2001). The review by Xue et al. (2017) found that less than 20 percent of the studies used first-hand data. Although direct measurements have problems with achieving a representative sample, indirect measurements lack granu- larity. The authors argue that that no single measurement methodology is good enough and suggest the use of a statistics-based estimation of food loss and waste coupled with first-hand measured data to corroborate find- ings (Xue et al., 2017). SAMPLES OF U.S. GUIDELINES AND INITIATIVES TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE AT THE CONSUMER LEVEL Despite the challenges in measuring food waste, there is a general consensus that food waste is a growing concern, and many efforts have been undertaken by a wide variety of stakeholder groups to reduce it at the consumer level. Table C-2 provides a sampling of guidelines and toolkits
186 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE TABLE C-2â Sample Guidelines and Toolkits for How to Reduce Food Waste Title Author Target Audience Description Food Waste FUSIONS School children and Practical information about food Reduction their families; waste, ways to maintain and Guidelines at preschool educators; store food, leftover recipes, and Home kindergarten food tips for efficient food purchases service employees Refresh Refresh, All stakeholders Website that shares and collects Community of European information and best practices on Experts Union food waste prevention What You Can USDA School staff; parents; Tips with links to related Do To Help Students resources on how to reduce, Prevent Wasted recover, and recycle food Food Tackling Food NRDC City policy makers and Strategies with detailed actions Waste in Cities: agency staff for what cities can do to rethink, A Policy and reduce, rescue, and recycle food Program Toolkit waste Guide to USDA, Students; Information and why and how Conducting EPA, and school staff to conduct a food waste audit. Student Food University Ideas for preventing food waste Waste Audits of Arkansas in schools Fighting Food WWF Hospitality industry Toolkit with information, tools, Waste in Hotels and the and resources to help hotel American industry prevent, donate, and Hotel and divert wasted food at their Lodging properties Association Food Waste WWF Students; Website with lesson plans, Warrior Toolkit Teachers resources, and activities Wasting Less NRDC Kâ12 schools Practical steps to reduce wasted Food in Kâ12 foods in school cafeterias and Settings: Best kitchens Practices for Success Food: Too EPA Local governments; The implementation guide shows Good to Waste community how to implement FTGTW using (FTGTW). organizations the toolkit the toolkit covers Implementation behavior change and outreach Guide and for individuals and households Toolkit using community-based social marketing principles
APPENDIX C 187 TABLE C-2âContinued Title Author Target Audience Description Food WRAP Food manufacturers Guidance for developing Promotions and retailers food promotions that do not Guidance for contribute to increased food Manufacturers waste in the grocery sector and Food Promotions Guidance for Retailers Your Business WRAP Hospitality and food Toolkit for creating a food waste Is Food, Donât service reduction action plan Throw it Away Toolkit. FAO Households; Provides examples of good Reducing the producers; practices for reducing food Food Wastage government; waste; also identifies food Footprint food industry waste information sources and guidelines Best Practices FWRA Retailers and food Provides basic steps to reducing and Emerging manufacturers food waste while also raising the Solutions profile of the issue of food waste Toolkit to a broader audience. Keeping Food Harvard State and local Toolkit describes policy areas Out of the Food Law governments that governments can examine Landfill: Policy and Policy as methods to reduce food waste Ideas for States Clinic and details the relevant federal and Localities laws Bans and Harvard State and local Toolkit is a resource for policy Beyond: Food Law governments; solutions to reduce food waste; Designing and and Policy regulators; examines policies and programs Implementing Clinic advocates to incentivize waste reduction Organic Waste Bans and Mandatory Organics Recycling Laws Toolkit for Food The Businesses; Toolkit of best practices and Waste-Free Rockefeller hospitality industry; strategies for reducing food Events Foundation food service industry; waste at events (festivals, fairs, community conferences, sports events, etc.) organizations; educators; consumers; governments NOTES: EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; FAO, U.N. Food and Agriculture Or- ganization; FUSIONS, Food Use for Social Innovation by Optimising Waste Prevention Strate- gies; FWRA, Food Waste Reduction Alliance; NRDC, Natural Resources Defense Council; WRAP, Waste and Resources Action Programme; WWF, World Wildlife Fund.
188 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE that have been developed worldwide. The different products are tailored to the target many audiences, including households, policy makers, educators, hospitality industry, retailers, and community organizers. In the United States, governments at all levels have initiatied a number of programs to help reduce food waste. Box C-1 provides examples of fed- eral programs. The committee did not carry out a systematic identification of state and local initiatives, but received briefings on them; examples are shown in Box C-2. BOX C-1 Selected Federal Initiatives to Reduce Food Waste In 2015, USDA and EPA announced two new efforts. One is the 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction Goal to reduce food loss and waste in the United States by 50 percent by 2030, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable De- velopment Goals. To meet this goal, the federal government will work within and across agencies and partner with communities, organizations, businesses, and local governments. The second is the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions program by which businesses and organizations can make a public commitment to re- duce food loss and waste in their operations by 50 percent by 2030. To date, 25 corporations have made commitments, such as eliminating postharvest losses on farms, training hotel kitchen staff on wasted food reduction techniques, and donating excess food at the retail level. These are all voluntary efforts with no formal monitoring, reporting, or evaluation. In 2018, USDA, EPA, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration jointly launched the Winning on Reducing Food Waste Initiative to encourage long-term reductions in food loss and wasted food in the United States through a variety of combined and agency-specific actions, including policy discussions, education, community investment, and publicâprivate partnerships. Since its formation, the Initiative has announced partnerships with ReFED, a nonprofit organization, and the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, an industry-led group. The Food Date Labeling Act* would establish a uniform national date label- ing system on food products to clarify the meaning of date labels for quality and safety. This bipartisan bill proposes to give food manufacturers a choice between two labels: âbest if used by,â which would indicate the foodâs quality, and âuse by,â which sets a date to throw it out. Those terms areÂ already being embraced by the food industry as part of a voluntary effort to streamline its labeling system. School Food Recovery Act** would provide funding for educational programs, some of which have already been created (see Table C-2). Under this bipartisan bill, schools that participate in the federal assisted meal programs, National School Lunch Program, or the School Breakfast Program would be eligible to ap- ply for grants to measure food waste, educate students, provide training, purchase equipment, and other projects. *See https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3981/text. **See https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/5607.
APPENDIX C 189 BOX C-2 Selected State and Local Initiatives to Reduce Food Waste The Washington State 2019 Food Waste Reduction Act Washington State has committed to create a plan that will recommend actions to achieve a 50 percent reduction in wasted food by 2030 in the state. The plan is currently being written with stakeholder input by the Washington State Department of Ecology. A report from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future used an online tool developed by ReFED and identified 74 wasted food reduction plans in the United States, 36 at the municipal level, 18 at the county level, and 20 at the state level; the number of new plans in the United States and worldwide has markedly increased each year since 2000 (Gorski et al., 2017). Most plans in this analysis did not include an evaluation component or did not have data on the types, quantities, and sources of wasted food. Plans varied greatly, with most fo- cused on diversion of wasted food from landfills or increasing the rate of recycling, primarily in the form of composting; few targeted prevention. Oregonâs Commitment to Reduce Wasted Food by 50 Percent by 2030 The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conducted the Oregon Wasted Food Measurement Study to track and identify the drivers of wasted food. In this multiphase study, the DEQ surveyed residents about food habits, including planning, shopping, preparing, eating, and discarding food. Additionally, they esti- mated wasted food by waste sorts of curbside trash bins and kitchen diaries. They also measured the impact on wasted food pre- and post-survey. After the survey, a slightly larger proportion (63.6 percent) thought they could avoid throwing out âa littleâ of their food, as compared to pre-survey respondents (56.9 percent) (McDermott et al., 2018). Pay-as-you-Throw (PAYT) Program in Sandwich, Massachusetts Beginning in 2011, Sandwich charges residents for trash bags and for access to the waste transfer stations. All trash must be in approved bags, which can be purchased at local stores, and brought to the transfer station for disposal. The town does not charge for recycling. Before the implementation of PAYT, residents were charged only to dispose of trash at the transfer station. The desired outcome is that residents will be encouraged to reduce, re-use, and recycle to avoid excess costs of trash disposal. During the first 6 months of implementaton, the town found that recycling increased and solid waste decreased. More recent data have not been publicly reported.
190 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE BOX C-2 Continued Massachusetts Commercial Food Materials Disposal Ban As part of its initiative to divert at least 35 percent of all wasted food from disposal by the year 2020, the state has put in place a regulation that prohibits businesses, universities, hospitals, and other large organizations from disposing of 1 ton or more of wasted food per week in the trash. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection provides guidance on compliance and encourages com- panies to investigate options, such as food donation, composting, or anaerobic digestion. Since taking effect in 2014, the ban has created jobs, stimulated growth in the stateâs organics diversion and reuse industry, and has generated millions of dollars in state and local tax revenue (ICF, 2016). Specific examples of food waste reduction activites that are currently in use by various stakeholder groups are shown in Table C-3. For example, some food service operators have switched to trayless dining or smaller portion sizes. Food retailers are trying to reduce food waste by removing âbuy one get one free offersâ and technology companies are testing apps with reminders to eat purchased food before it expires.
APPENDIX C 191 TABLE C-3â Examples of Ongoing Activities Targeted at Reducing Food Waste by Consumers Organization Type Reduction Activity Food Service â¢ Reusable to-go food and beverage containers and trayless dining Company programs â¢ Trayless dining â¢ Sample tastes to reduce waste â¢ Educational and scholarship programs â¢ Menus developed with student involvement and wellness committee meetings â¢ Video campaign in store checkout lanes explaining ways to save money by reducing wasted food at home â¢ Trayless dining in all dining halls since 2009 reduced post- consumer food waste by 30 percent â¢ Smaller portion sizes â¢ More meals made to order Food Manufacturer â¢ New technology (e.g., âeasy-outâ technology to decrease the amount of mayonnaise that sticks in the bottle) â¢ Development of different doughs that can be filled with leftover food Food Retailer â¢ Requests to suppliers to start converting to a âbest if used byâ date label terminology. As of February 2016, 92 percent of Walmart qualifying private brand products have adopted this new label, or have started to transition to its use â¢ Removal of multi-buy offers â¢ Stopped âbuy one get one freeâ promotions on all fruit and vegetables â¢ Removed âbest beforeâ dates on fruit and vegetable lines Innovator in Food â¢ Temperature sensitive, bioreactive food labels, which decay to Packaging and show when a product is past its shelf life; used in stores and Technology homes â¢ Smart kitchen app with reminders to eat purchased food before it expires, creates shopping lists, and keeps track of what is in the refrigerator â¢ Web-based advice on food perishability â¢ Smart refrigerator that helps manage groceries â¢ Foodkeeper app â¢ Self-adhesive food calendar labels that show at a glance when food was first opened, stored, or frozen Nonprofit â¢ âSave the Foodâ public service campaign targeting moms and Organizations millennials; scalable to other consumer segments, regions, and time frames â¢ Love Food Hate Waste national consumer awareness campaign; online and print. â¢ Meal Prep Mate website to help consumers avoid over-purchasing and over-prepping food continued
192 NATIONAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE TABLE C-3âContinued Organization Type Reduction Activity Federal, State, and â¢ Funding LeanPath software for businesses and institutions Local Government â¢ Wasted food education in schools Agencies â¢ Residential wasted food pilot programs â¢ Websites, media campaigns, and toolkits â¢ Waste audits â¢ Cookbook and smart food tips developed by partnerships among local governments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and local restaurants and grocers SOURCES: Data from U.S. Department of Agiculture Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions; ReFED; Further with Food. REFERENCES Bellemare, M.F., M. Cakir, H.H. Peterson, L. Novak, and J. Rudi. 2017. On the measurement of food waste. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 99(5):1148-1158. Gillick, S., and T.E. Quested. 2018. Household Food Waste: Restated Data for 2007-2015. WRAP. Gorski, I., S. Siddiqi, and R. Neff. 2017. Governmental Plans to Address Waste of Food. Available: https://clf.jhsph.edu/sites/default/files/2019-01/governmental-plans-to-address- waste-of-food.pdf. Hanson, C., B. Lipinski, K. Robertson, D. Dias, I. Gavilan, P. Greverath, S. Ritter, J. Fonseca, R. VanOtterdijk, T. Timmermans, J. Lomax, A. Dawe, V. Berger, M. Reddy, D. Somogyi, B. Tran, B. Leach, and T.E. Quested. 2016. Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Report- ing Standard. Available: https://flwprotocol.org. ICF. 2016. Massachusetts Commercial Food Waste Ban. Economic Impact Analysis. Avail- able: https://www.mass.gov/doc/massachusetts-commercial-food-waste-ban-economic- impact-analysis/download. McDermott, C., D. Elliott, A. Johnson, K. Hunter, and C. de Venecia. 2018. 2017 Oregon Wasted Food Study: Residential Sector Waste Sort, Diary, and Survey Study. Available: https://www.oregon.gov/deq/mm/Documents/ResKitchenDiarySurvey.pdf. Moreno, L.C., T. Tran, and M.D. Potts. 2020. Consider a broccoli stalk: How the concept of edibility influences quantification of household food waste. Journal of Environmental Management 256:109977. Nicholes, M.J., T.E. Quested, C. Reynolds, S. Gillick, and A.D. Parry. 2019. Surely you donât eat parsnip skins? Categorising the edibility of food waste. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 147:179-188. Ãstergren, K., J. Gustavsson, H. Bos-Brouwers, T. Timmermans, O.-J. Hansen, H. MÃ¸ller, G. Anderson, C. OâConnor, H. Soethoudt, T. Netherlands, T. Quested, S. Easteal, A. Politano, C. Bellettato, M. Canali, L. Falasconi, S. Gaiani, M. Vittuari, F. Schneider, and B. RedlingshÃ¶fer. 2014. FUSIONS Definitional Framework for Food Waste. Full Report. Available: https://www.eu-fusions.org/phocadownload/Publications/FUSIONS%20Defi- nitional%20Framework%20for%20Food%20Waste%202014.pdf. Quested, T.E. 2019. Guidance for Evaluating Interventions Preventing Household Food Waste. Refresh Report. Available: https://eu-refresh.org/guidance-evaluating-interventions- preventing-household-food-waste.
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