A Heuristic Approach for Welfare-oriented Periodic Food Recovery and Distribution Problems

Invited abstract in session WB-21: Methodology of Societal Complexity and Economy, stream Methodology of Societal Complexity.

Area: OR in Health, Life Sciences and Sports

Wednesday, 10:30-12:00
Room: Building CW, ground floor, Room 025

Authors (first author is the speaker)

1. Hanna Grzybowska
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of New South Wales
2. Divya Nair
Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of new South Wales
3. David Rey
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW


We address the food recovery and distribution problem encountered in food rescue operations. The emergence of non-for-profit food rescue organizations has attracted practitioners to design innovative solutions to recover surplus food from local sources (e.g. farmers, restaurants, supermarkets, etc.) and distribute it to welfare agencies. The rescued food may include perishable goods and that need to be delivered immediately. Further, food rescue operations often rely on the periodic provision of surplus food by local sources. Hence, the food rescue problem can be represented as a periodic pick-up and delivery vehicle routing problem. In contrast to traditional routing problems, the objectives of food rescue operations go beyond cost-driven optimization models. In the context of welfare maximization, equity-oriented objective functions are prevalent to ensure a fair division of the goods recovered. In this paper, we focus on the development of periodic vehicle routing models for food rescue operations. We build on existing work and introduce efficient heuristic algorithms to tackle the problems on realistic scenarios involving hundreds of pick-up and delivery locations. The heuristic algorithms combine scheduling and routing decisions while providing a fair division of the recovered surplus food.


Status: accepted

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