Publication Date
Authored by
Joaquin Hidalgo, Meiling Chen
Topic(s) Covered:
  • Strategy
  • Sustainability

With air passenger traffic projected to increase significantly over the following decades, the airline catering industry urgently needs to explore the underlying causes of food waste produced in their kitchens and develop concrete strategies to manage it better going forward. Spanning over 60+ countries, operating 200+ catering units, and serving more than 700 million passengers every year, the sponsoring company for this capstone project, a leading airline catering company, is uniquely positioned to make a sizeable impact on this global issue. Considering that the in-flight catering services industry was valued at $17.7 billion in 2018, airline catering food waste was reckoned with millions of worth. In this report, we proposed innovative solutions to reduce the food waste in their catering kitchens, considering the potential financial and environmental impacts of improved food waste management. We combined data analytics and machine learning algorithms with system dynamics frameworks to minimize cost and maximize the utilization and preservation of resources. We modeled the system with a 91.12% accuracy and evaluated eight different waste management alternatives regarding the cost and environmental impact. Through our study, we provided the sponsoring company with actionable, data-driven recommendations to aid in developing their first attempt to create a global organic waste management strategy.

Access full capstone paper on DSpace