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Charlene Li

Charlene Li imagePhD Candidate

Department of Food Science



The metrics and management of food and plastic waste associated with online food delivery in China

Supervised by Associate Professor Miranda Mirosa and Professor Phil Bremer.


Charlene comes from Shanghai where she obtained her M.Eng. (Research) in Food Science and Technology and B. Eng. in Food Quality and Safety from Shanghai Ocean University (China).

She has worked in Research and Development Department of the infant milk formula industry in China for years, working as a product development technologist in formula design and marketing claim generation.

She is also a Chinese Registered Dietitian.

Charlene is member of the University of Otago Food Waste Innovation Research Theme which measures food waste, develops reduction strategies, applies innovative technology, and works to modify producer and consumer behaviour.

Project outline

Food waste is a global issue. This project will focus on a rapidly developing issue in the supply chain – waste associated with the online food delivery (FD) sector.

The primary purpose of this research is to provide an understanding the type and volume of food and packaging waste produced and to devise and trial interventions to enhance the sustainability of this sector.

This research will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of the United Nations (UN) which aims by 2030, to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels, and will add to the emerging academic literature on waste.

Specifically, I aim to:

  • Qualitatively understand Chinese consumers’ perceptions and practices relating to online food delivery and its associated waste
  • Quantify the volume and types of consumer-level food and plastic waste associated with online food delivery in China
  • Measure the effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce food and packaging associated with online food delivery.