The Last Minute Market Model: an innovative service of efficient assortment management in a sustainability perspective

Purpose: This paper analyses the Last Minute Market (LMM) experience, an innovative service born in Italy as an academic spin-off in order to reduce the food waste problem at the local community level. Its main purpose is to discuss how distribution can work towards greater efficiency and to lower the costs associated with assortment management from the standpoint of sustainable local growth and solidarity.

Methodology: The study is based on an inductive type of approach according to which, proposing LMM as a single case study, one may try to draw more general considerations.

Findings: The paper highlights LMM as a completely new service model, that focuses on how to get the best out of waste rather than merely eliminating it. Through this new perspective, assortment management knowledge is enriched. As far as we know, LMM is the first meta-organization specially developed to connect both profit and no profit realms. LMM provides services aiming at the daily recovery at a local level of excess food and non-food in favor of agencies and associations that assist needy people. LMM may essentially be defined as a gift broker: it creates the necessary infrastructural conditions to make the transformation of waste into resources possible.

Managerial and theoretical implications: The reasons for the LMM models success, the effects of its presence and the conditions for its diffusion are examined as managerial implications. On a theoretical level, LMM contributes to unveil some of the traits of the company of the future.

Originality of the study: This paper focuses on a new Italian experience that has not yet been examined in the international service management literature.

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