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Food Rescue Collaborative Research

Start Date: August 2019
Funding: Seattle Public Utilities
Project Budget: $50,000
Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Anne Goodchild

The Supply Chain Transportation & Logistics Center (SCTL) is conducting collaborative research with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to explore and share innovative approaches for moving, storing, and redistributing surplus food.

Food rescue is the process of gleaning edible food that would otherwise go into the waste stream from local businesses and re-distributing it to local food programs. SPU is building partnerships to increase this practice while striving to increase the City’s greater affordability and resilience. Transportation, storage, and logistics have been key operational barriers to increasing rescued food.

SPU commissioned SCTL to create a shared data-driven understanding of the logistics of food rescue in Seattle.

The purpose of this project is to reduce waste and increase access and food quality for customers of food banks and meal programs. Research will be conducted with both businesses that donate food and the organizations that receive it. The first phase of this project will focus on identifying ways to lower transportation, cold storage, and logistics costs of securing food and evaluating these benefits.

Ultimately, research findings could lead to creating solutions that:

  • increase supply chain transportation efficiency,
  • reduce current system redundancy across food rescue operations
  • increase collaboration across independent operations serving Seattle’s food insecure residents, and
  • increase the resiliency of food rescue operations which could ultimately enhance their ability to respond to larger City disasters, disruptions and unexpected risks.