Supply chain structures for distributing surplus food

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: New actors have emerged in the food supply chain in response to the increased awareness of food waste and the need to distribute surplus food. The purpose of this study is to analyse the different supply chain structures that have emerged to make surplus food available to consumers.
Design/methodology/approach: This study adopts a qualitative multiple-case study of three new surplus food actors: a surplus food platform, an online retailer and a surplus food terminal. Data sources included interviews, documentary evidence and participatory observations.
Findings: Three different types of actor constellations in surplus food distribution have been identified: a triad, a tetrad and a chain. Both centralised (for ambient products) and decentralised supply chain structures (for chilled products) have emerged. The analysis identified weak links amongst new actors and surplus food suppliers. The new actors have adopted the roles of connector, service provider and logistics service provider and the sub-roles of mediator, auditor and consultant.
Originality/value: This paper contributes to research on closed-loop or circular supply chains for the reuse of products in the context of surplus food distribution.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalThe International Journal of Logistics Management
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)865-883
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 03.11.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • sustainability
  • reverse logistics
  • case study

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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