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Sustainability 2015, 7(6), 6457-6477;

Consumer-Related Food Waste: Causes and Potential for Action

MAPP—Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus University, Bartholinsalle 10, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
Department of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden—Food and Bioscience, P.O. Box 5401, SE-402 29 Göteborg, Sweden
Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, 1432 Ås, Norway
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Kirrilly Thompson, Drew Dawson and Anne Sharp
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 24 April 2015 / Accepted: 11 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
Full-Text   |   PDF [713 KB, uploaded 26 May 2015]   |  


In the past decade, food waste has received increased attention on both academic and societal levels. As a cause of negative economic, environmental and social effects, food waste is considered to be one of the sustainability issues that needs to be addressed. In developed countries, consumers are one of the biggest sources of food waste. To successfully reduce consumer-related food waste, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the factors influencing food waste-related consumer perceptions and behaviors. The present paper presents the results of a literature review and expert interviews on factors causing consumer-related food waste in households and supply chains. Results show that consumers’ motivation to avoid food waste, their management skills of food provisioning and food handling and their trade-offs between priorities have an extensive influence on their food waste behaviors. We identify actions that governments, societal stakeholders and retailers can undertake to reduce consumer-related food waste, highlighting that synergistic actions between all parties are most promising. Further research should focus on exploring specific food waste contexts and interactions more in-depth. Experiments and interventions in particular can contribute to a shift from analysis to solutions. View Full-Text
Keywords: food waste; consumer behavior; household; retail; suboptimal food; leftovers; literature review; expert interview; date labelling; pricing food waste; consumer behavior; household; retail; suboptimal food; leftovers; literature review; expert interview; date labelling; pricing

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Aschemann-Witzel, J.; De Hooge, I.; Amani, P.; Bech-Larsen, T.; Oostindjer, M. Consumer-Related Food Waste: Causes and Potential for Action. Sustainability 2015, 7, 6457-6477.

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