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Cornell University

Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition

Food Loss and Waste

A pile of discarded vegetables

In India and other developing countries, food loss and waste present a major challenge to food security, especially with regard to perishable fruits and vegetables. Implementing effective food loss and waste prevention strategies can help to increase the availability of these nutritious foods.

TCI research aims to better understand the determinants of food loss and waste, as well as where and when it occurs in the supply chain. Learn more in the news stories, blog posts, and publications below.


Jocelyn Boiteau, a postdoctoral associate at TCI, was quoted by CNN on India’s recent spike in tomato prices. The cost of tomatoes rose more than 400% due to crop failures, leaving many unable to afford the staple of Indian cuisine.

As it makes its journey from the farm to consumers’ plates, around a third of the total food produced in the world is lost or wasted. Reducing such waste is key to efforts to achieve sustainable food systems, but before significant progress can be made, researchers must first agree on exactly what they mean by “food loss and waste.”

Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important source of micronutrients, but access to them is limited in developing countries like India because of several factors, including food loss and waste. New TCI research on tomato supply chains sheds light on where and when most loss occurs and how it can be reduced.

TCI scholar Jocelyn Boiteau presented her research on food loss in Indian tomato supply chains during the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health Academy Week 2020, held virtually from June 30-July 2.

Blog posts

In this blog post, TCI scholar Jocelyn Boiteau describes how tomato farmers decide when to bring their crops to market and the role that price variability plays in food loss and waste.

In this blog post, TCI scholar Jocelyn Boiteau explores how the plastic crates used to protect tomatoes at the market carry occupational risks for laborers.


In this blog post, TCI scholar Jocelyn Boiteau details how rising temperatures and unreliable rainfalls are contributing to food loss among India’s tomato farmers.


In this blog post, TCI Scholar Jocelyn Boiteau explores the various attributes different supply chain actors use to judge the quality of tomatoes.


In this blog post, TCI Scholar Jocelyn Boiteau reflects on the lack of a common definition of food loss and waste and the challenges behind creating a harmonized definition.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2022



Featured image: Discarded vegetables sit on a farm. (Photo by Janosch Kunze/Shutterstock)