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Tek, Merve Adalmina, 2023. Working towards circular economy : barriers and opportunities for upcycling food waste. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences

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As food waste continues to create severe social, environmental and economic issues, solutions are searched and developed throughout the food value chain. Shifting to circular economy has been suggested as a solution for a more sustainable future, and valorizing food waste is one way to execute this. To succeed in the paradigm shift the factors enabling and preventing circular measures need to be examined and understood. Participation by companies of all sizes is important to tackle these issues. Start-ups are deemed to have a stewardship role in implementing circular economy policies due to their flexible structure. For this reason, this study examines specifically start-ups upcycling food waste, and the barriers and drivers they experience while pursuing circularity.
Interviews were conducted with company representatives from three different circular start-ups. Impasta Incorporated, Renewal Mill and Spare Food Company’s operations are based on upcycling of their specific products, which are squash, soy pulp and whey, respectively. These interviews, with an exhaustive literature review, demonstrate that most of the barriers for upcycling and circular economy are related to the market and social or cultural contexts. Institutional factors aren’t many in quantity, but they have a great impact, as they create a framework to tackle other barriers. Social and environmental factors have significant roles as drivers, though the difference with economic ones is not as drastic as might be indicated by previous studies.
Changing the narrative of food waste as an ingredient toward a more acceptive direction would help to establish the role of upcycled products. The motivation for valorizing food waste exists but companies need tools and optimal operating environment to fully exploit the opportunities. Regulation, policies and incentives placed by decision makers are key factors in tackling the barriers, as well as utilizing the full potential of food waste valorization.

Main title:Working towards circular economy
Subtitle:barriers and opportunities for upcycling food waste
Authors:Tek, Merve Adalmina
Supervisor:Mark-Herbert, Cecilia
Examiner:Hunter, Erik
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2023:25
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM028 Sustainable Food Systems - Master's Programme, 120.0hp
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:circular economy, business model, food waste, valorization, start-ups
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Deposited On:06 Sep 2023 10:45
Metadata Last Modified:07 Sep 2023 01:00

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