How food techs can reduce food losses and waste?
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Background and Aim: Food losses and waste are the new frontier in the search for sustainability in agricultural activities and food systems. It is a complex problem, in which one of the factors involved is lack of coordination among members of the food supply chain. Food Techs, or digital business platforms, emerge as one possible solution. Therefore, this research sought to understand how Food Techs can contribute to food waste solutions by improving supply chain coordination by shortening it. Research Design and Methods: This research uses a qualitative approach and was carried out in two phases, based on primary data collection, through observation visits and interviews, as well as secondary data. The first phase investigated 33 individuals, among producers, associations / cooperatives and government support agencies and sought to understand the coordination difficulties faced in supply chains related to food waste. The second phase was based on primary and secondary data collection from three case studies about food digital platforms in order to describe them aspossible solutions for the problems identified in phase 1. Findings: Food Techs contribute to food waste solutions improving supply chain coordination mostly through informal mechanisms, increasing collaboration between supply chain agents. They act as a bridge between production and consumption, creating a new market for food that would be discarded in many stages of the supply chain either by non-standard compliance or by lack of market, also creating the consumers demand through awareness and subscription purchase mechanisms. Research LimitationsThis research only considers three digital business platforms located in Sao Paulo and its main stakeholders. These initiatives are recent and represents a small share of fresh food supply chain. Theoretical Contribution: As a theoretical contribution this study illustrates the interface between innovative business models and sustainable supply chains. It alsohighlights the importance of digital platforms as an alternative coordination mechanism in the supply chain and the business opportunities that arise from such practices. Practical impact: The practical impact of this research is that it contributes by presenting opportunities to reduce food losses and waste through digital platforms, a new phenomenon, able of positively affecting food supply chains’ sustainability by shortening them. It brings insights to managers and policymakers in increasing this kind of platforms.