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Investigating reduction of UK perishable fresh food produce waste through quality and social gap analysis (Advert Reference: SF19/BL/MOS/SHOKRI1)

Faculty of Business and Law

About the Project

UK was reported by Waste and Resources action Programme (WRAP) as the largest contributor of perishable fresh produce (fruit and vegetables) waste in Western Europe with 140 kg/head/year with equivalent financial loss of €200-260 per year (Blanke, 2015). There is a scarce research to investigate the UK food waste and its contribution to the wider sustainability agenda. The confusion over quality and usability of perishable fresh food produce is an overwhelming social sustainability challenge with scarce research. Therefore, a new conceptual integrated quality and social sustainability framework is required to reduce the gap between consumer’s perception and expectation of quality and usability of perishable fresh produce. The service quality gap (SERVQUAL) and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) theoretical models are tested in this challenge where quality and social gap creates food waste and financial inefficiency.

The key questions to be answered by this research are:

1) What are major indicators of fresh food produce waste relevant to quality and usability gaps between consumer’s expectation and perception?

2) How the fresh food produce waste can be reduced via a new bespoke theoretical integrated quality and sustainability model?

This research is directed to answer these questions through multi-disciplinary literature such as quality management and MBNQA (Jones, 2014; and Sabella et al, 2014) and food sustainability (Blake, 2015; and Shokri et al, 2014), and has contribution towards Deming’s Total Quality Management theory (1985) and SERVQUAL theory (Parasuraman et al, I985). A new conceptual integrated quality and social sustainability framework is required to reduce the gap. The challenge of food supply chain waste and sustainability (Shokri et al, 2014), cultural value of Total Quality Management theory (Shokri et al, 2016, 4*ABS) and impact of quality management theories on waste reduction (Shokri, 2019) are evident in recent publications as referenced below.

This research has exploratory approach and is conducted through empirical quantitative data collection from UK public society.

This project is supervised by Dr Alireza Shokri.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see:

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF19/…) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Please note this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend.


Shokri, A. (2019). Investigating the view of quality management success factors amongst future early career operations leaders. International Journal of Quality and service Science. Forthcoming (In press)

Shokri, A. (2019). Reducing the scrap rate in an electronic manufacturing SME through Lean Six Sigma methodology. IEEE Engineering Management Review. 47(3), ISSN: 1937-4178, IEEE DOI: 0.1109/EMR.2019.2931184

Shokri, A. and Nabhani, F. (2019). Quality management vision of future early career Operations Managers: a model approach. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 36(2), ISSN: 0265-671X, IF. 2.17

Nabhani F. Uhl, C. Kauf, F. and Shokri, A. (2018). Supply Chain process optimisation via the management of variance. Journal fo Management Analytics, 5 (2), ISSN: 2327-0012

Uhl, C. Nabhani, F. Shokri, A. Kauf, F. (2017). Purchasing manages and optimises existing product variance. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 29(3): 430-448, ISSN: 1741-038x, IF. 2.194

Shokri, A. (2017). Quantitative analysis of Six Sigma, Lean and Lean Six Sigma research publications in last two decades. International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management, 34(5), ISSN: 0265-671X, IF. 2.17.

Uhl, C. Nabhani, F. Kauf, F. Shokri, A. and Hughes, D. (2017). Purchasing Management: The optimisation of product variance. Procedia Manufacturing, 11: 1366-1374, ISSN: 2351-9789.

Shokri, A. Waring, T. and Nabhani, F. (2016). Investigating the readiness of people in manufacturing SMEs to embark on Lean Six Sigma projects: An empirical study in the German manufacturing sector. International Journal of Operations and Production Management, 36(8): 850-878, ISSN: 0144-3577, IF. 4.371.

Shokri, A. and Nabhani, F. (2015). LSS, a problem solving skill for graduates and SMEs: Case Study of investigation in a UK Business School curriculum. International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, 6 (2): 176-202, ISSN: 2040-416.

Shokri, A. Oglethorpe, D. Nabhani, F. (2014). Evaluation of sustainability in the UK fast Food Supply Chain. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 25 (8): 1224-1244, IF. 2.194.

Shokri, A. Oglethorpe, D. Nabhani, F. (2014). Evaluating Six Sigma methodology to improve logistical measures of food distribution SMEs. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 25 (7): 998-1027, IF. 2.194.

Shokri, A. Nabhani, F. Hodgson, S. (2010). Supplier Development in a Food Supply Chain through Six Sigma. Robotics & Computer Integrated Manufacturing Journal, 26: 639 – 646, ISSN: 0736-5845, IF. 3.464.

Shokri, A. Nabhani, F. (2009). Reducing lead time in a food distribution SME thorough simplified version of Six Sigma methodology. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 20 (7): 957-974, IF. 2.194

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