Call for papers: Food Loss and Waste Management during COVID-19




Special Issue of Socio-Economic Planning Sciences

Guest editors:

Ludovica Principato (Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy), Luca Secondi (University of Tuscia, Viterbo Italy), Marco Formentini (University of Trento, Trento, Italy)

The COVID-19 outbreak has challenged several aspects of human modern society, yet it could make us rethink the way we produce and consume our food, towards a more sustainable approach in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The popular media is full of articles highlighting that we are facing some relevant issues related to food shortage and access during the pandemic. Feeding the vulnerable part of the global population in both developed and developing countries has become a serious widespread problem. However, at the same time, it seems that farmers are being forced to throw away tons of fresh food that they can no longer sell, mainly due to the disruption of supply chains, the temporary closure of food catering services, but also due to the lack of agricultural workers and pickers. These challenges require a better understanding of environmental, social and economic implication of food waste and loss generated at different stages of food supply chains during the sanitary crisis. Moreover, quarantine regulations imposed by national health authorities are forcing billions of people to stay at home in lockdown, and therefore carefully plan their meals. This may lead to a change in household food waste behaviour.

Scholars from different disciplines are invited to submit their novel and original contributions focusing on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Food loss and waste quantification along the food supply chains during the outbreakWhat are the difficulties encountered by producers and companies throughout the entire food supply chain? And what are the opportunities that may originate from this global emergency? The collection and analysis of primary data and case studies related to specific agricultural, post-harvest, transformation, distribution and consumption stages may provide us with valuable insights into how the production systems have dealt with this pandemic and how specific food supply chains can be re-organized.
  • Understanding and analyzing contextual and institutional differences (emerging vs. developed countries) in managing food loss and waste during the pandemic as well as food recovery from a supply chain perspective.
  • Innovative solutions proposed by public and private bodies aimed at minimizing waste along the supply chain and/or at donating food to vulnerable beneficiaries during the pandemicIs there any evidence of the collaboration between public and private bodies to minimize waste and help food recovery for the most needy peopleWhat experiences, opportunities and challenges have emerged? What humanitarian implications have arisen during the pandemic in terms of food rescue and redistribution?
  • Food policies and socio-economic inequalities: what measures have been introduced and what were their effects? What role do “smart cities” play regarding urban food policies? What is the impact generated by pandemic on social-economic inequality? How do policy makers intend to cope with family emergencies?
  • Technological implications of managing food loss and waste (i.e. use of novel apps, software, digital tools/solutions, etc.) during the outbreak. How and to what extent technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help in the management of food loss and waste along the various stages of food supply chains?
  • Access to food, consumption and waste behaviour: changing habits and choices at household levelHas consumer behaviour before and during the lockdown changed? What policy lessons and conclusions can be drawn from individual and household behaviour? Can policy makers draw on this experience for planning sustainable consumption models?
  • Looking towards the future and the sustainability of production and consumption systemshow can we create opportunities for the sustainability of food systems? What supply chain changes are required in terms of governance of structure, relationships and collaborations with different stakeholders? What impacts will these changes have on logistic processes? How can we enhance individuals’ purchase and consumption behaviour?

We strongly encourage contributions dealing with applications of quantitative analyses and/or development of statistical models and methods that can improve our understanding of food loss and waste along the entire supply chain, the impact evaluation of pandemics on waste management systems and improve the decision-making process in order to help businesses and policy makers to cope with the consequences of COVID-19. In addition, Socio-Economic Planning Sciences requires the authors to pay explicit attention to the managerial and policy implications of their findings.

Submission guidelines

Manuscripts submitted to this special issue will be peer-reviewed according to the editorial policy of Socio-Economic Planning Sciences (, published by Elsevier. Papers should be original, unpublished, and not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. Instructions for authors can be found at the journal homepage. Authors should upload their contributions using the submission site of the journal (, and choose Article Type “Food Waste” to request consideration for this special issue.

The submission due date is December 31st, 2020.

For any query please contact the Guest Editors: Ludovica Principato at