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Food donation as a strategy to reduce food waste in an emerging Latin American country: a case study in Uruguay

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  • Pablo Montoli, Universidad de la Republica
  • ,
  • Gastón Ares, Universidad de la Republica
  • ,
  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • María Rosa Curutchet, Ministerio de Desarrollo Social
  • ,
  • Ana Giménez, Universidad de la Republica

Abstract: Food donation has expanded globally and has become a common form of food assistance in emerging countries. However, research on food donation experiences in these settings is still scarce. Purpose: In this context, the objectives of the present work were as follows: (i) to explore the views of Uruguayan stakeholders on food donation as a strategy to reduce food waste, (ii) to identify barriers and enablers for food donation in Uruguay, and (iii) to explore the organizational characteristics of Uruguayan food banks. Methods: A qualitative approach based on two data collection strategies was used: documentary content analysis of official governmental documents and in-depth semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders related to food waste and food donations in Uruguay. Results: Food donation emerged as a central strategy for food waste reduction in the view of Uruguayan stakeholders, mainly because it was perceived as an efficient strategy to reduce food insecurity. The complexity of food donation was acknowledged by Uruguayan stakeholders and who identified several barriers for its implementation related to economic considerations, the characteristics of the donated products, legal and commercial considerations, and organizational characteristics of food banks. Conclusion: Although most barriers were aligned with results from previous studies conducted in developed countries, some specificities to the Uruguayan context were also identified. Clear and detailed legal frameworks to ensure that the donated products reach the target population along with nutritional requirements for the foods to be donated were deemed necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

    Research areas

  • Emergency food programs, Food bank, Food security, Sustainability

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