(Re)framing the Food Waste Narrative: Infrastructures of Urban Food Consumption and Waste in Indonesia
This paper reveals the unequal power relations and the tensions between Indonesia’s “modern” food provisioning infrastructures (such as supermarkets) and traditional ones (such as door-to-door vendors and street markets). The research found that modern supermarkets are now commonplace and popular in Indonesia, yet those stores’ practices are known to increase food waste by maintaining stringent aesthetic standards (e.g., imperfect food gets tossed out) and promoting “buy one get one free” offers (thus encouraging consumers’ impulse and bulk purchases). The decline of traditional food infrastructures—such as mobile vegetable vendors (tukang sayur) and wet markets (pasar)—through spatial restrictions and predatory pricing strategies will limit the ability of Indonesians to continue traditional “buy today eat today” practices. A holistic understanding of the spatial transformation and changing consumption patterns in rapidly urbanizing cities is critical to promote contextually relevant food waste prevention and reduction policies in Indonesia.
Volume & Issue:
Page range: 173-90
Cornell University Southeast Asia Program