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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Sustainability Assessment of Food Redistribution Initiatives in Sweden

Bergström, Pauline; Malefors, Christopher; Strid, Ingrid; Hanssen, Ole Jørgen; Eriksson, Mattias


Food banks that redistribute surplus food from retailers and the food industry to people in need are not a new concept globally, but their connection to food waste prevention is new. As a result, new types of food redistribution units are emerging and diversifying to find new target groups and distribution methods. The aim of this study was to identify and study surplus food redistribution units in Sweden,and then to assess the impact on several sustainability indicators for selected redistribution units, in order to increase knowledge on the types of values these redistribution concepts generate. The methods used for analyzing the scenarios were Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Costing and Social Life Cycle Assessment. The results showed that providing food bags to socially exposed people generated the largest reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per kg of redistributed food (−1.2 kg CO2eq./FU). Reprocessing surplus food to a high-quality end-product was attributed a high social value, due to job creation effects in the high number of working hours required per kg of redistributed food. With regard to economic impacts, all but two scenarios studied had monthly financial losses,and therefore needed other sources of financial support.


sustainable development; food waste; life cycle assessment; environment; society; economy

Published in

2020, Volume: 9, number: 3, article number: 27

      SLU Authors

        • Sustainable Development Goals

          End poverty in all its forms everywhere
          End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
          Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
          Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

          UKÄ Subject classification

          Environmental Sciences
          Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

          Publication identifier


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