Sustainability is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, this definition is difficult to be understood or applied by organizations that have specific responsibilities to the society, beyond their economic and legal obligations. Responsibility means that people, planet and profit should be considered as a whole system, needing balance. By balancing the social and environmental elements of sustainability, long-term profitability could be achieved.
A food system is defined as the sum of all the diverse elements (environment, people, inputs, processes, infrastructures, institutions, etc) and activities related to the production, processing, distribution, preparation and consumption of food, and their socio-economic and environmental outcomes. Sustainability could be illustrated through the product stewardship concept, which is defined by the shared responsibilities that all participants in a product’s life cycle have for minimizing its environmental and health impacts. A product’s responsibilities in a supply chain do not end when the product is delivered to consumers. This means that product manufacturers, retailers, users and disposers are responsible for the health, safety and environmental impacts of their products across their life cycle (e.g. from raw material extraction to use and disposal). Thus, there is a need for balancing food products responsibilities (e.g. economic, social and environmental) throughout the supply chain.
Today, there is a need to decrease food loss across the supply chain, but also to identify ways to best utilise discharged food mass. Although waste arises at every stage of the food supply chain, the causes of its generation vary depending on the supply chain stage. Effective food waste management will benefit all supply chain members. Reducing processing food wastes by recovering valuable compounds and developing new products can significantly improve the sustainability of the food production system, considering the following ways.