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Open AccessArticle

Exploring the Drivers behind Self-Reported and Measured Food Wastage

by Efrat Elimelech 1,2,*, Eyal Ert 3 and Ofira Ayalon 1,2
1
Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel
2
The Natural Resource and Environmental Research Center (NRERC), University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 3498838, Israel
3
Department of Environmental Economics and Management, and The Center for Agricultural Economic Research, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205677
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 7 October 2019 / Accepted: 11 October 2019 / Published: 14 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Meeting Sustainable Development Goals by Reducing Food Loss)
Understanding households’ food waste drivers is crucial for forming a coherent policy to meet the sustainable development goals. However, current studies have documented mixed evidence regarding food waste determinants. Most studies have relied on self-reports, assuming they reflect actual behaviors. This study applies a structural equation model that evaluates both self-reported and measured food wastage, and how they are affected by different households’ attributes, attitudes, and behaviors. As such, it also provides a test for the underlying logic that self-reports are a proxy for actual food waste. Results show that measured food wastage is, at best, weakly correlated with self-reports. Moreover, drivers affecting self-reported and measured food wastage are not necessarily the same. Household size affects only measured food wastage. Source separation behavior negatively affects self-reported and measured food wastage, while environmental attitudes have a negative effect only on self-reports. Meal planning, unplanned shopping, and food purchased have no impact on self-reported and measured food wastage. The relation between self-reported and actual food waste and their drivers are even less understood than we thought. The distinction between self-reports and actual waste is crucial for follow-up research on this subject as well as assessing policy measures. View Full-Text
Keywords: drivers of food waste; household food waste; avoidable food waste; measured food wastage; self-reports; Sustainable development goals; structural equation model drivers of food waste; household food waste; avoidable food waste; measured food wastage; self-reports; Sustainable development goals; structural equation model
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Elimelech, E.; Ert, E.; Ayalon, O. Exploring the Drivers behind Self-Reported and Measured Food Wastage. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5677.

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