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Welcome to the ‘Safeguarding Food and Environment in Qatar’ (SAFE-Q) project site!

SAFE-Q is a three-year joint research project involving Georgetown University in Qatar, Cranfield University and Brunel University in the UK and the Western Sydney University in Australia. The project is  implemented through a research grant from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and explores the issue of food waste in Qatar.

On this website, you can find our bi-weekly blog to update you on the progress of our research as well as other related information and follow up on social media!

Help us identify what food items are wasted: Food Waste Survey

8 October 2017

As we have reported in the previous post, we are preparing a submission to present and share SAFE-Q research outcomes in the Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference to be held in March 2018. This year the conference pillars are Energy and Environment, Computing and Information Technology, Health and Biomedical, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. More information about the ARC ’18 can be found on the conference website:

www.qf-arc.org

We are also preparing to present our work at the upcoming INFORMS Conference in Houston, Texas. Dr. Emel Aktas will be giving a talk on inventory control policies to minimize food waste in retail environment:

“Policies to Minimise Food Waste in Retail Environment

Emel Aktas, Senior Lecturer, Cranfield University, Cranfield, United Kingdom, emel.aktas@cranfield.ac.uk

Akunna Oledinma, Hafize Sahin, Zahir Irani, Amir Sharif, Samsul Huda, Zeynep Topaloglu, Mehran Kamrava

Food retail is one of the largest sectors both in the UK and the US. IGD predicts the UK food and grocery market to reach £200bn over the next five years. Supermarkets sell 60-90% of all fresh fruits and vegetables, with high levels of imported produce. We focus on fresh fruits and vegetables due to their high value and perishability. We build a causal loop of the fresh fruits and vegetables supply chain in Qatar, considering imported and locally grown produce, the demand, and the waste due to inefficient operational processes and consumer behavior. Using the deSolve library in R, we test inventory control policies based on service levels, lot sizes, and demand across a range of fresh produce categories.”

Last week, we welcomed our new research team member, Ms Qiongyu Lu. Currently Ms. Lu is a doctoral student at the Cranfield School of Management and she will contribute to our research efforts in the UK. We look forward to working with her. We also say farewell to Dr Oledinma, who has taken up a new role as a teaching fellow in the University of Warwick. Our collaborations on food waste reduction will continue.

We are also organizing a SAFE-Q dissemination event to be held in 2018. We have a date confirmed among the team members as 19 March 2018. We will be updating you about the agenda and invitees as we approach the event. We are very excited about it that it will be an opportunity to share our findings and receive feedback from our stakeholders as we approach the close of our project.

24 September 2017

We are pleased to learn that the Annual Research Conference will be running in March 2018. We have two papers to consider submitting the conference, by the deadline of 25 October. One paper is to report our results from the consumer survey about food waste, and the other one is our simulation modeling; where we examine the waste occurring at different stages of the supply chain; informed by the causes we identified right at the beginning.

From a modeling point of view, it is not possible to have a large model that accounts for everything that we observe in real life. We simplify the concepts whilst maintaining the significant variables that affect the food system. All our efforts are geared towards contributing to increased food security in Qatar through minimizing waste in the food supply chain. Lower waste means better availability and higher accessibility for food that is nutritious and aligned with the preferences of the people who consume it in the long run.

This is a complex issue especially for a country like Qatar that has a significant number of expatriates from all over the world in the workforce. The diversity of the population lead to high variability in the food system to meet the expectations of consumers who are used to their countries’ cuisines. The globalized food supply chains mean that it is possible to find any food all year round because it is grown somewhere in the world to meet the demand. However, in that case the amount of production and the distances travelled affects the price which in turn has an impact on price.

We are working on unpacking these interrelationships among supply, demand, consumer preferences, supply chain resilience and flexibility as we study how food waste can be reduced to contribute to increased food security.

17 September 2017

Over the last two weeks, we’ve continued our project management and stakeholder engagement activities. SAFE-Q Project PI Dr. Samsul Huda attended the LRN conference and presented our work on understanding consumer behaviour and its impact on food waste. He also visited Georgetown University Qatar and had meetings with Qatar University professors to share SAFE-Q research outcomes and learn about their ongoing research. As a consequence of the blockade, Food Security has been one of the top priority for research and government institutions to secure the implementation of the vision of Qatar 2030. During the discussions in these meetings we shared research ideas that would contribute to country’s ongoing efforts to maintain food security.

Qatar’s food security also gained media’s attention after the recent blockade. Below are some of the articles published regarding food security in Qatar:

English:

Arabic:

For similar articles and more updates about the SAFE-Q project, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SafeQProject/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SafeqProject

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/safeqprojectqatar

Hafize Sahin and Emel Aktas

3 September 2017

Over the past two weeks we have been working on two aspects of food waste in our original model: consumption and distribution. Just to remind you our initial research model, we include our conceptual framework in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Research framework of SAFE-Q

To address the changing consumption as part of the utilisation of food within the larger food security framework, we have initiated an online survey which you may know from our earlier posts. We have now analysed this survey and found that contextual factors help explain the food waste significantly. We will be presenting this model in the Logistics Research Network Conference in September 6-8 2017. You can see other papers in our session here: Draft Programme of Papers

To address the food waste issues in the distribution of food we are focusing on the retail demand forecasting and inventory management practices. We are running simulation models that capture consumers’ preferences for fresher items and retailers’ inventory replenishment strategies and analyse the impact on food waste. Soon we will be presenting our research at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in October 22-25 2017. You can see other papers in our session here: http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/4471/session/148

Please leave a comment or send us an email at emel.aktas@cranfield.ac.uk if you have any suggestions or if you have any stories to share.

20 August 2017

Over the last two weeks, we have finalized conducting phone interviews with hotels and restaurants regarding the amount of food waste being generated. Currently, we are examining the effects of break in the cold chain in the food supply chain. Break in the cold chain refer to temperature during transportation and storage. High temperature in Qatar means that food products that are temperature-sensitive need to be kept at a constant optimal temperature as they are transported to the final destination of the sale to maintain their quality. During the problem structuring workshops, break in the cold chain emerged as a factor that needs to be investigated. For other factors came up during the workshops please read factors relevant to food waste.

We continue to post interesting food waste and food security related videos on our social media channels. Don’t forget that you can always follow our social media updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SafeQProject/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SafeqProject

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/safeqprojectqatar

Authored by Hafize Sahin, edited by Emel Aktas