Waste not, want not: exploring green consumers' attitudes towards wasting edible food and actions to tackle food waste

McCarthy, Breda, and Liu, Hong-Bo (2017) Waste not, want not: exploring green consumers' attitudes towards wasting edible food and actions to tackle food waste. British Food Journal, 119 (12). pp. 2519-2531.

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Abstract

Purpose: Scholarly research on food waste is growing, but it tends to focus on households in general. The purpose of this paper is to explore the attitudes of green consumers towards food waste, reasons for wasting edible food and acceptance of policy actions that could help address the food waste challenge.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on a quantitative survey of 346 respondents, frequency distributions, cross tabulations and non-parametric tests were performed.

Findings: This study finds that there is inconsistency between attitudes and behaviours. Green consumers, including those who value organic food and vegetarianism, waste quite a lot of edible food. Food is thrown away mainly due to spoilage, short shelf life, being forgotten in the fridge and eating outside the home. Hence, consumers, even those with the best of intentions, face behavioural constraints when it comes to reducing food waste. A surprising finding is that some consumers lack awareness of the environmental burden posed by food waste. Several policy measures to reduce food waste are acceptable to the respondents

Research limitations/implications: Reliance on self-reported data for food waste.

Practical implications: The research identifies actions that local governments could undertake to reduce consumer-related food waste. An environmental awareness campaign targeting green consumers could correct information deficits.

Originality/value: The focus on the green segment has practical implications for reducing the economic and environmental burden of food waste.

Item ID: 51655
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-4108
Keywords: organic foods; food waste; food policy; vegetarians
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2017 23:25
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