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Abstract

Background & Objectives Global food chains have become longer and more complex owing to the decoupling of geographical locations where food is produced and consumed. Increases in global food prices, lower levels of production in grain-producing nations and rising costs of oil, fertilizers and transportation have raised concerns about food security in many countries, including Qatar. The population of Qatar has dramatically increased from 660,238 in 2003 to 2,077,357 in 2014. As a food-import-dependent nation, Qatar heavily relies on food coming from other countries. However, reports on food security and observations of the project team suggest that food supply chains have not been re-designed to accommodate this rapid increase in population and to account for the increased complexity due to globalised distribution. Distribution of food is challenging because it has to ensure that the product maintains its quality and safety while it is transported downstream on the chain and until it reaches the consumer. Inappropriate conditions and poor handling result in food being wasted. An awardee of the National Priorities Research Program 2014, this research project aims to provide strategic input for management of food supply chains considering characteristics of distribution and consumption of food in Qatar. Methods This research will incorporate food quality and food safety considerations into distribution optimisation models because transportation of food between various supply chain members affects food quality and food safety as well as food waste originating from deteriorating quality and emerging safety risks. It will focus on operational problems occurring during transportation and storage of food and provide an estimate of the waste occurring in distribution. Moreover, it will build a simulation model to establish the link between distribution frequencies and the food quality and food safety, exploring key interrelationships among quality and safety in food supply chains. Results In the distribution of food, management challenges faced by organisations delivering food to Qatar are related to limited shelf lives of food products, temperature and humidity requirements, possible interaction effects between products, and delivery time windows of products. Food wasted at the end of the food supply chain incurs the highest costs and uses the highest level of energy because the food has already been grown, processed, transported, stored, and sold before ending up in the trash. This research project will investigate consumers' contribution to the generation of food waste in an attempt to reduce the waste originating from variations in demand. Conclusions Waste in the food supply chain results in inefficient use of natural resources such as water, energy and land through supply chain operations such as production, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal. The problem of food waste is emotive because it raises ethical issues about the accessibility of food while millions of people around the world live in hunger. The waste, cost and environmental impact due to production, distribution and consumption of food occur globally. The significance of this project lies in its focus on food waste as complementary to the ongoing efforts in Qatar for achieving food security and environmental sustainability.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0900
2014-11-18
2020-09-25
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