Wasting the Potential of Unsold Food: Exploratory Study of Food Waste in Food Service Establishments in Czech Republic

Michal Klukan

Student thesis: Master thesis


In recent years, food waste gained interest amongst the researchers and governments as it is estimated that one third of food never gets consumed. Majority of which could be avoided if managed better. Food service industry contributes by 12% to the food waste. This thesis is focused on avoidable food waste which means on food that was not used in time and factors that influence the amount of food waste.
Sample of 8 food service establishments were approached for in-depth semi-structured interviews in order to identify the food waste practices. The sample consisted of buffet restaurants, canteens, hotels and bakeries. Each serving on average 1000 portions of food a day. Food service establishments have the potential to reduce food waste as well as change the whole environment by interacting with producers and consumers.
Differences and challenges between policies and practice have been identified. It has been shown that food service establishments lack the motivation to innovate in the food waste problem on their own and also that they are driven by finances. They accept the food waste as common practice and are afraid of donating food because of the fear of legal consequences. On the other hand, they are not aware of the right policies and the law can be interpreted differently by individual establishments. They have no knowledge about the EU initiative for lowering food waste nor sustainable development goals. Circular economy principles are unconsciously used on a limited scale without theoretical knowledge.
It has been found that majority of food waste from food establishments comes from unsold food left by the end of the day and potential to reuse it has been identified. A tool that would help food service establishments to implement circular economy principles to prevent food waste into their business practices, has been developed end proposed.
This thesis contributes to the lack of research in the field of food waste in food service industry by increasing the understanding of the generation of food waste and identified the possibilities to reuse unsold food.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages95
SupervisorsLena Olaison