Food waste declined more in rural Chinese households with livestock

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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The ongoing evolution of food waste trends and the intensification of livestock systems in developing economies play a critical role in shaping global sustainability. We explore the linkage between food waste and livestock systems at the household level and how this connection changed in China during the 1990s and 2000s when market liberalization was followed by policies that led to intensification of livestock production. We find the amount of food waste in all rural households declined significantly over this period. Households with livestock, which often use uneaten food for animal feed, created about 75% more food waste than other rural households at the beginning of this period, but experienced significantly greater reductions in food waste and significantly greater increases in animal protein consumption over the study period. We postulate that intensified livestock production led to less uneaten food being used as animal feed and, in response, led to more efficient household consumption including less discarded food. We reject the separability of household livestock production and consumption decisions prior to the onset of livestock intensification, but cannot not reject separability thereafter. We end by discussing the implications of livestock intensification for overall food system sustainability.

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Food Policy

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