Reducing Food Spoilage

Project Duration: 2021 to 2023

Can Low-Cost and Demand-Augmenting and Waste Buying Services Help Reduce Spoilage for Street Vendors Selling Fresh Produce?

Street vending is a widespread source of livelihood in developing countries such as Pakistan. Street vendors that sell highly perishable commodities like fruits and vegetables are prone to incur losses due to spoilage, usually a consequence of high temperatures. Higher rates of spoilage also lead to higher GHG emissions. Building on promising results from a pilot, we propose to test the impact of two innovative interventions which can potentially help street vendors reduce produce-spoilage thereby reducing contributions to GHG emissions:

  • The first intervention, which will be tested in a randomized experiment, expands the demand for vendor’s produce by offering them a free vendor-to-home delivery service.
  • The second intervention which we will only pilot in this project allows vendors to sell their wasted produce to us for a flat fee (to be varied by quality).

One of these activities has already been piloted to aid learning about operationalizing our field procedures. For analysis, primary data will be collected through regular surveys to measure the primary outcomes such as quantity of produce wasted and vendor net revenue.

The aim is to study the role that the interventions may have in reducing contributions to GHG emissions, improving enterprise outcomes such as increased revenues, reduced costs, improved profits and improved inventory management. Evidence generated through this research will allow governments to participate in boosting informal economic activity. Partnerships with private corporations can be facilitated to reduce food wastage.