The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic had various influences on people’s ordinary lives, including their thoughts and behaviors related to food consumption. Food waste has been cited as a serious issue with environmental, social, and economic consequences. In this study, we investigated how the COVID-19 pandemic altered the social consciousness and behavior related to food waste in Japan. We conducted a nationwide online-based survey and collected a cross-sectional dataset from 1959 adult respondents. The results showed that people in regions highly impacted by the pandemic reported a clearer understanding of the situation of their household food waste, more careful food preparation and purchasing, and were more strongly influenced to change their behaviors due to COVID-19. Further analyses revealed that thoughts and behaviors related to food waste significantly differed by sociodemographic characteristics, such as gender, household size, and employment status. This study also implied that the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged some improvements in peoples’ behaviors and thoughts with regard to food, such as paying attention to food waste, making efforts to reduce food waste, and attempting cooking by themselves at home.
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