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DUT alumna’s research reveals 10.2 million tons of food is wasted in SA

“Food waste is one of the major concerns for environmental and socio-economic sustainability in both developed and developing countries." - Saijal Sucheran.

AS much as 31 million tons of food are produced in South Africa – with about a third, 10.2 million tons, going to waste. This is according to a study conducted by the Durban University of Technology’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology Alumna, Saijal Sucheran.

Sucheran broke the news when she presented her paper, on Food Waste Management of Restaurants, online at the 11th annual International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM) in Singapore.

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Speaking on her paper, Sucheran who works as a Junior Industrial Engineer at SPAR, South Africa, said the objectives of this study was to identify measures taken by restaurants in monitoring and managing food waste, to identify barriers facing food waste management in food outlets, and to suggest recommendations and solutions to improve food waste management in restaurants.

“Food waste is one of the major concerns for environmental and socio-economic sustainability in both developed and developing countries.”

“The extent and complexity of the global food waste problem has brought it to the forefront of environmental agenda. In particular, food wastage is of critical importance for the hospitality sector, whose operations generate excessive food waste, and this sector is one with significant potential for food waste prevention,” she said.

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The conference’s aim was to provide a forum for academics, researchers and practitioners to exchange ideas and recent developments in the field of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management.

Sucheran co-authored the paper with DUT’s Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Industrial Engineering, Dr Oludolapo Akanni Olanrewaju.

Expressing her feelings about the study, Sucheran said: “I felt a deep sense of accomplishment and elation. I am very proud of myself and I am equally honoured to have had my paper selected for the presentation and publication at an IEOM in Singapore. However, this accomplishment would not have been possible without the guidance of Dr Olanrewaju, who has been very supportive and welcoming of all my ideas.”

Commenting on Sucheran’s accomplishment, Dr Olanrewaju said his responsibility was to guide her through in selecting a preferred topic and nurture it to the end. 

“Sacheran is the brain behind the topic researched on. Coming up with such a topic during Covid-19 time, I must say is commendable of Sucheran,” he said.

Dr Olanrewaju added that researching such a case study can help bring about a lot of change to the food industry with regards to waste management, as well as there is also room to grow on the research.



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