- freely available
Foods 2017, 6(12), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6120104
- Understanding the barriers and facilitators for acceptance of visually suboptimal foods both before and after purchase through the consumer;
- Designing and testing strategies to promote the consumption of visually suboptimal foods; and
- Investigating how winning strategies can be successfully implemented in the food chain.
2. Suboptimal Foods and Food Waste
2.1. Product-Related Factors
2.1.1. Product-Related Factors: Experimental Approach
2.1.2. Product-Related Factors: Major Findings
2.2. Person-Related Factors
2.2.1. Person-Related Factors: Experimental Approach
2.2.2. Person-Related Factors: Major Findings
3. Communicating Food Waste Reduction to the Consumer
3.1. Product Cues Attracting Attention on Suboptimal Foods
3.1.1. Attracting Attention: Experimental Approach
3.1.2. Attracting Attention: Major Findings
3.2. Expectation and Perception of Suboptimal Foods
3.2.1. Expectation and Perception: Experimental Approach
3.2.2. Expectation and Perception: Major Findings
3.3. Messages and Channels to Communicate Suboptimal Foods
3.3.1. Communication Channels: Experimental Approach
3.3.2. Communication Channels: Major Findings
3.4. Price-Reduction to Sell Suboptimal Food
4. Ways of Reducing Food Waste along the Food Supply Chain
4.1. Business Potential and Barriers of Suboptimal Foods
4.2. Take-Back Clause and Its Influence on Food Waste, Prices, and Retail Market Power
- In general, not all of the unsold bread is returned to the supplier; a fraction is treated by the store itself through different channels or just ends up in the garbage of the store.
- The supplier collects the unsold bread two to three days before the best-before date. The returned quantity differs between retail stores and between suppliers.
- The bread inventory usually is consumed LIFO (last-in-first-out). Consumers demand freshness as prime factor when buying bread—hence they will always buy the fresher and leave behind the rest. When the suppliers need to add fresh bread, they eventually withdraw old bread 1–2 days before the best-before date. This is the trade-off for the maintenance of a certain amount of inventory at all times.
- Bakeries consider that, to a great extent, the take-back clause is a result of the market power of the retailer. Sweden has one of the highest concentrations of retailers in Europe . Retail outlets request full shelves at all time, regardless of actual demand. By paying only for what is sold, retailers push the cost of returns to the supplier. Although bakeries understand that there should always be a certain amount of bread on the shelves, they do not agree that they should bear the entire cost of unsold bread. Furthermore, it is believed that this process increases food waste because bakeries argue that they are forced to produce—and waste—more bread than they would if they had full control of how much bread should be delivered, or if retailers paid for all—both sold and unsold—bread.
- Retailers and bakeries agree that a certain amount of waste is unavoidable. The amount of bread placed on shelves is based on forecast, not so much on actual need. Hence it is only natural to have some bread left over as waste.
- Weather appears to be also a factor of waste, as it affects shopping behavior; unexpected weather changes may increase or decrease purchase and, therefore, influence the amount of how much is wasted.
- The production method of bread is of importance. Bakeries which bake and freeze and then distribute frozen bread have a lower percentage of bread returns (approx. 4–5%) than those which deliver freshly baked bread (approx. 12–14%). This is because the store management is able to maintain the shelf inventory by simply taking bread out of the freezer (sometimes more than once during the day) for letting it unthaw on the shelves, hence, being always “fresh”.
- The distribution route of the delivery vehicle of the bakery and the size of the store are also important. The last store in the route usually receives what is remaining in the lorry regardless of its actual needs, and hence often receives more than necessary. This is because the bakery agents do not want to return fresh bread to the bakery; they tend to “dump” all leftovers to the last store. Because, usually, distribution routes start with the large and end with smaller stores, it is the smaller stores that exhibit more waste in relative terms.
- The governance of the distribution chain may affect the amount of bread waste. Some bakeries internalize the process using their own delivery trucks, while others outsource it to logistics companies. We suspect that there may be a difference between the two schemes; however, it is still unclear which structure produces more waste.
- Choice experiments and focus groups revealed that consumers have a low tendency to purchase and consume suboptimal foods, and it is quite difficult to motivate them for doing so.
- The type of suboptimality plays a distinct role in the choice process of the consumer (as deduced from the choice experiment) and significantly impacts the influencing techniques that are necessary to motivate consumers to buy and consume suboptimal foods.
- Not only consumers are relatively pessimistic about changes of success of suboptimal food products, also supply chain actors do not perceive high chances of success for suboptimal foods. There is a mismatch between consumer needs (e.g., large discounts) to buy and consume such products, and the needs of the supply chain actor (e.g., no lower prices due to transporting problems of suboptimal products) for the selling of suboptimal foods.
- Price reduction of suboptimal foods is a powerful tool to reduce food waste at the retailer level. It should not be expected to increase food waste at home, if a high quality is assured and consumers are provided tips on usage of the items.
- Supply chain food waste reduction initiatives need good and broad collaboration as a basis, entrepreneurial spirit and drive in the organization, and a good ‘timing’ to achieve success.
- Consumers differ in their choice of suboptimal foods and food waste behavior depending on their food (waste)-related lifestyle, in particular regarding food involvement, price orientation, planning and using meals as social event, which is why policy and stakeholder actions should be targeted to different consumer segments to be more efficient.
- Intervention measures such as a mobile phone app are capable of delivering messages about food waste to consumers at home, and some consumers may benefit from using such an app to prevent wastage of suboptimal foods in the home.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Age (years)||44.6 ± 14.4||45.4 ± 15.4||43.9 ± 13.5||43.9 ± 14.2||45.3 ± 14.6||44.4 ± 14.2|
|With children under 18 in household (%)||31||28.9||28.3||31.5||35.8||30.3|
|Household income (%)|
|Less than 50% of average||20.2||19.5||25.1||18.6||14.5||23.7|
|Between 50% and 150% of average||57.2||52||57||57||62.9||57.1|
|More than 150% of average||10.8||14.5||8.6||11||13.3||6.3|
|Perceived waste importance (1, not important at all; 7, very much important)||4.56 ± 1.32||4.51 ± 1.49||5.06 ± 1.23||4.32 ± 1.25||4.18 ± 1.25||4.74 ± 1.15|
|Do shopping/cooking (1, never; 5, always)||4.16 ± 0.83||4.23 ± 0.85||4.24 ± 0.81||4.12 ± 0.79||4.00 ± 0.81||4.18 ± 0.84|
|Food (Waste)-Related Lifestyle Dimension or Waste Indicator||Involved Socializers (#1)||Uninvolved (#2)||Price-Oriented (#3)||Well-Planning (#4)||Price-Dismissive (#5)|
|Meal consumption as a social event||4.89 a||3.02 c||2.38 d||2.53 d||3.26 b|
|Self-fulfillment from cooking||5.56 b||3.35 c||3.49 c||5.84 a||5.48 b|
|Social relations via meals||5.64 a||4.24 c||5.17 b||5.80 a||5.50 a|
|Importance of credence attributes for quality||5.35 a||3.49||3.75 d||4.91 b||4.61 c|
|Norms to avoid food waste||5.85 a||4.31 c||5.75 a||5.96 a||5.29 b|
|Cooking and culinary interest||5.66 a||3.43||3.73 c||5.59 a||5.32 b|
|Planning meals||3.97 b||3.59 c||3.18 d||4.95 a||3.62 c|
|Price as criterion for shopping behavior||5.16 b||3.41 c||5.52 a||5.55 a||3.05 d|
|Knowledge 1||43.6 a||43.6 a||41.9 ab||43.3 a,b||40.7 b|
|Relative importance 2||5.14 a||4.04 d||4.51 b||4.87 a,b||4.41 b|
|Tendency to choose‚ optimal‘ at home||3.98 a||4.06 a||3.12 bc||2.97 c||3.48 b|
|Self-reported food waste at home 3||16.0 a||18.0 a||10.0 bc||8.0 c||11.0 b|
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