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Title:Influencers of surplus food donation at institutions of higher education
Author(s):Forrest, Samantha Sea
Advisor(s):Ellison, Brenna
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Food Recovery, Donation
Abstract:In recent years significant policy attention has been given to reducing food waste, including the practice of donating surplus food. The most recent of these policies was the 2018 Farm Bill which dedicated new funding and public positions to research and reduce the quantity of food waste. Policies come in response to a climate of both waste and hunger in the U.S. In this study, we examine the factors that influence surplus food donation at institutions of higher education (IHE). IHE hold an interesting position in the economy, as they receive both direct and indirect benefits from public services or “doing good”. Like any food service provider (e.g. a restaurant), donating may reduce direct costs through reducing waste disposal, or generate direct funding through tax breaks or grants. But, distinct from other food service providers, IHE may also receive indirect benefits as food donation attracts students, faculty, and staff which in-turn affect institutional goals including revenue generation. These indirect benefits may make them more likely to donate surplus food. Research on food waste in IHE has primarily focused on plate waste. While this is a significant source of waste, it does not address pre-consumer waste or its management. Thus, this study contributes to the literature by considering pre-consumer waste, and in particular, how it may be diverted via food donation at IHE. Institutions from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) were surveyed on a series of characteristics including goals, liability and sustainability and waste management practices, including food donation. Results of the study show that not paying to dispose of waste, liability concern and being located in a town as compared to a city are correlated with a decrease in an institution’s likelihood to donate. Being aware of a nonprofit organization that accepts excess food donations increases the likelihood of donation. The findings support the need for attention to liability concerns as purported by others in the literature.
Issue Date:2019-07-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Samantha Forrest
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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