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The logics of surplus food redistribution

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Surplus food redistribution has been promoted as a way of reducing food waste and food poverty. Informed by an exploratory qualitative case study of third sector actors in north east England, this paper explores the logics of surplus food redistribution. The framings and qualities (logics) ascribed to surplus foods as they flow through the food chain are examined, following an economy of qualities approach. Existing literature constructs surplus food and those involved in its utilisation as beyond market mechanisms and relations. This is challenged by the research that suggests the practices are never independent of their market attachment and reflect a continuum of food system flows and relationships, concerning the management of economic, environmental and social qualities and relations. The paper concludes that unless a distinction is drawn between genuine waste to be recovered and surplus to be redistributed for community benefit, surplus food as a resource is unlikely to be fully utilised.
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Keywords: England; food insecurity; food waste; qualities; surplus food redistribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Claremont Tower, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

Publication date: December 2, 2014

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