Waste reduction in the supply chain of a deteriorating food item – Impact of supply structure on retailer performance

Patrick Beullens, Yousef Ghiami*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, we examine how an Operational Research (OR) modeling approach can help in identifying how structural components in the supply process of a food product subject to a small probability of almost immediate failure affects the amount of waste arising at the retailer. This process can be viewed as the cumulative effect of various possible causes, including (apparent) product flaws and breakage. This category of waste, in contrast to products that are removed based on reaching their best before or use-by date, are also having little potential for redistribtion, and may thus be most targeted in future waste reduction legislative initiatives. We develop some relatively easy to calculate measures to help a retailer with identifying the financial implications of waste production in relation to some supply source characteristics, the financial motivation of its supplier to tackle item deterioration at the retailer level, and how this is affected by the level of logistics collaboration. We also discuss how the model can help in deriving the relative benefit of technological, logistical, supplier selection, and marketing strategies available to the retailer to meet future legislative waste reduction targets, and derive conclusions with respect to the design of legislative instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1034
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date16 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the anonymous referees for their comments which have helped to improve this paper, in particular with respect to enhancing the content regarding supply structure improvements.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Collaboration
  • Deterioration
  • Inventory
  • Net present value
  • Waste


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