Loss and Waste in the Australian Fresh Apple Value Chain

Garry Griffith, Sarah Rohr, Stuart Mounter, E. Fleming

Abstract


Apples are a significant and popular fruit among the Australian population, and in the case of fresh apples, the
domestic market is relatively self-sustaining. Retail and consumer preferences are the driving force for quality
standards for apples along the chain, with actors working to provide the best quality selection of produce. In
order to meet these high standards, loss and waste occurs in the lower grades which are simply a by-product
of first grade production. Globally, loss and waste of fresh produce is amongst the highest of all food groups
and from the limited data available, apples appear to be no exception. While there is not accurate specific data
regarding loss and waste data of fresh apples in the Australian value chain, reporting is increasing as is
awareness of the broader issues of food loss and waste. Following along the value chain, there appear to be
discrepancies in quantities of fresh apples available at the various stages, with these variations potentially
reflective of loss and waste along the chain. Using best estimates from the literature, the total amount of fresh
apples, conservatively, that is potentially diverted from the Australian fresh apple supply chain is around
163,000 tonnes which is about 41 per cent of total production at the farm level. What is also lacking from
Australian market data and literature, other than robust primary loss and waste data, is the cost of food loss
and waste, and the extent of the externalities that occur due to loss and waste along the value chain. Not only
do negative externalities incur costs to the broader society, there are additional costs of intervention, and
analysis is required to determine the feasibility and appropriateness of intervention strategies.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18461/pfsd.2020.2012

ISSN 2194-511X

 

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