Expert assignment to reduce unnecessary food waste in Brazilian street markets

Pedro Brancoli, a researcher at the Swedish Centre for Resource Recovery at the University of Borås and coordinator of the project, said,

“This is a socio-environmental project. Much of the food wasted at the street markets could have been eaten. We have carried out two previous assignments from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, in which we have analysed in detail what kind of food waste could be used instead of being sent to landfills. The goal is to develop methods to reduce wastage in street markets.”

In the previous projects, local employees have been used who have collected food waste at ten local food markets in the mega-city of Sao Paulo and in the countryside. The food waste has been weighed, sorted, and analysed. Among the waste were many products that could have been used as food, but which was rejected by consumers after having been somewhat damaged after production.

Leafy vegetables in focus

Now, a third project is starting to analyse more deeply the causes for food waste in the street markets. The focus will be on leafy vegetables, for example lettuce in various forms, which require delicate handling.

“We look at the entire chain from production and transport to how the products are handled on the market and reach consumers. The next step will be to propose solutions, further that these are implemented to see if the methods really work.”

Pedro Brancoli has presented the analysis methods for the EU, which is now also in the process of starting a number of projects in Brazil and where Pedro Brancoli is assisting with advice.

“In the long term, the goal is to support the development of measures to prevent food waste in several locations in Brazil using educational materials developed in the previous projects and training local teams made up of solid waste management specialists, public employees and universities in several regions of Brazil.”

The local teams will also learn about sampling, measurement techniques, and safety procedures, as well as how to report results.

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About the research area Resource Recovery and the Swedish Centre for Resource Recovery 

The projects have been reported about in Brazilian media.

Desperdício de alimentos em feiras livres de São Paulo é tema de estudo pioneiro da Unesp (Translated: Food waste in street markets in São Paulo is the subject of a ground-breaking study by Unesp)

Pesquisa mede desperdício em feiras livres de SP (Translated: Research measures waste at street markets in SP)

Photo 1: Sorting collected waste at fruit market 
Photo 2: Example of fruit waste from a fruit market