Youthika Chauhan

Past Research

Food System Transformation through Cloud Platforms: Application to the Food Waste Management in India

Under review at: Journal of Business Venturing Insights

Feeding people sustainably continues to be a challenge in the present times. Aggravating this problem is the fact that about one-third of the global food produced is wasted each year, which is nearly 1.3 billion tons of food suitable for human consumption. In developing and least developed countries, food wastage primarily occurs within the supply chain. Lack of infrastructure for transportation, warehousing, and refrigeration in developing countries cause significant post-harvest losses. In India, about 40% of fresh fruits and vegetables worth approximately USD 8.3 billion undergo spoilage before reaching the consumer. Additionally, about 21 million metric tons of grain rot due to improper storage.

A range of factors, such as microbial, enzymatic, chemical, physical, and mechanical ones, lead to food spoilage. These factors necessitate the development of logistics systems in food supply chains. Computerization and technological platforms facilitating online communications within food supply chains can facilitate the management of agricultural resources. While research shows that developments in food supply chains can reduce food wastage, no systematic research has been done so far to show the possible relationship between the use of technology in food supply chains and food losses. This paper attempts to address this gap by studying the supply chains of different organizations and their food wastage.

Using a multi-case study analysis of Indian processed food manufacturers, I identify the key factors (e.g., food perishability, product sensitivity, supply chain complexity, etc.) that can serve as indicators of food wastage. These can also help identify the relevance of technology in the product supply chains. This study reveals that cloud platforms can help reduce food wastage in supply chains, both directly and indirectly. Further, I identify the specific technologies and the conditions under which they can be useful in preventing food wastage in supply chains.

Note: The above paper was submitted as a Masters Thesis towards completion of the degree requirements. Draft available on request.

Citation: Chauhan, Youthika, Food System Transformation Through Cloud Platforms: Application to the Food Waste Management in India (September 15, 2014).

Available at SSRN:


Sustainability and Transparency in the Food Industry: Which Events Matter?

With growing concerns regarding food sustainability, while certain firms in the industry are acting responsibly and adopting sustainable practices, there are still several instances of firms’ wrong-doing. In this paper, I have considered the principles of sustainability as a source of economic gains and as a source of positive returns. Negative actions related to firm wrong-doing are considered to affect firms’ reputation and brand. We do not have a clear understanding of the impact of positive and negative news on the stock market performance of companies. Positive news announcements, such as those related to improved regulatory compliance, institutional acceptance, employee orientation, and community support, resulting in positive cumulative abnormal returns, whereas negative news announcements do not generate any investor reaction.  Through this paper, I have contributed to the literature by adding to empirical findings favoring stakeholder theory and institutional theory.

The findings from this paper have implications for production, marketing, and movement building for food systems with an orientation towards sustainable practices. The results from previous research studies have shown that consumers had preferences for food products with better information disclosure and were concerned about safety and nutrition aspects. I have explored this with a variety of other initiatives such as the adoption of sustainable practices, employee orientation, customer-centric innovation made by firms. I have also explored the impact of negative news announcements. My finding is that there is an incentive to engage in socially responsible action. Sustainable initiatives and improved compliance with norms can potentially improve a firm’s performance in the stock market, especially if substantiated by institutional acceptance. Negative news announcements do not generate any significant response.

 Note: The above paper was submitted towards the completion of doctoral course requirements. Draft available on request.


Female Literacy and Malnutrition in Children: A Country-Level Study

While the prevalence of malnutrition has significantly reduced in many parts of the world, child malnutrition persists in many developing economies. Research suggests that in the medium-to-long run, non-nutritional social interventions such as expanding female schooling, access to water and electricity, and improving agricultural productivity may have significant effects on reducing child malnutrition. In this cross-country study, I evaluate the role of certain non-nutritional factors related to the education of women on the prevalence of malnutrition.

I find that literacy among women is a statistically significant factor associated with child malnutrition. Accessibility of healthcare and the availability of prenatal care for pregnant women has a moderating effect on this variable.

Note: The above paper was submitted towards the completion of doctoral course requirements. Draft available on request.