Research proposal — Consumer behaviour and Food Wastage Essay Example

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Consumer behaviour and Food Wastage

Academic Benefit Statement;

This literature review aims to create a better understanding of the current state of knowledge regarding food wastage and consumer behaviour. The literature review will create new and helpful knowledge for the academic fields involved with food security and consumer behaviour. Also, the literature review will create avenues for future research.

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According to Chrobog (2014, p.1; Adam 2015) “about one-third of global food production goes to waste while over 842 million people are suffering from chronic hunger.” Food wastage occurs at several levels of the entire supply chain such as timings of delivery, contractual relations and labelling by retailers (Parfitt1 2010; Jessica 2015). Food wastage at the consumer level involves wastage during meal preparations, expiry of purchased food or leftovers (Adam 2015; Tielens and Candel 2014). Consumer behaviours promoted during food purchasing, storage and consumption have a great impact on food wastage (Wharton 2015). Many consumers lack knowledge concerning packaging and food wastage in the home (Wrap 2012). Therefore, consumers adopt behaviours that potentially decrease the expiry date of products, for instance, unpacking products or piercing the packaging (Wrap 2012). There is great potential for consumers to utilize labels and packaging to prevent food wastage.
Overheating of food may result to premature spoilage. Shortage of skilled labour and lack of equipment in restaurants may result in food wastage (Adam 2015).

Understanding consumer behaviour and food wastage presents great economic, social, and environmental benefits (Luecke 2015; Tielens and Candel 2014; Adam 2015). Stakeholders including retailers, NGOs, policy makers and researcher projects have developed several initiatives to control the issue of food wastage. Several emerging technologies such as social computing, mobile applications, and ubiquitous have been applied to reduce domestic food waste. Smartphone applications allow consumers to access various kinds of food wastage programs and books (Wharton 2015). The waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) promotes effective and sustainable waste management by creating awareness about food waste and provides practical actions to reduce domestic food waste (Capell 2013). The ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign was launched in 2007 by WRAP to mitigate food wastage (Lyon and Ramachandran 2013; Capell 2013). Improved infrastructure, proper means of transport and market access have significant impacts on food wastage interventions. Interventions methods need to be embedded in a broader and integrated food system approach in order to make a significant contribution in reducing food wastage.

There are several gaps in the present research regarding the issue of food wastage. This literature review is essential given that extensive research consumer behaviours and food wastage has not yet been published academically. This literature review outlines factors that promote domestic food wastage and identifies consumers’ behaviours that influence domestic food waste. The literature review will identify interventions implemented in reducing food wastage globally. The extensive research in the area of consumer behaviour and food wastage would help in implementing strategies for mitigating food wastage (Adam 2015). Reducing food wastage is a crucial element in implementing a sustainable food system (Tielens and Candel 2014).


Adam, A 2015, drivers of food waste and policy responses to the issue, the role of retailers in food supply chains, working paper, No. 59/2015, Institute for International Political Economy Berlin.

Capell, H., Knox, A., Lee, T and Malik, B 2013, investigating the drivers of household food waste and methods to increase public awareness, retrieved 11th March, 2016,


Chrobog, C, K 2014, Wasted, understanding the economic and social impact of food waste, FGV, EBAPE.

Jessica, A 2015, consumers and food waste, a review of research approaches and findings on point of purchase and in-household consumer behaviour, Eaae-Aaea Joint Seminar ‘Consumer Behaviour In A Changing World: Food, Culture, Society.

Koivupuro, H., Hartikainen, H., Katajajuuri, J.-M., Silvennoinen, K., Heikintalo, N., Reinikainen, A. and Jalkanen, L 2012, influence of socio-demographical, behavioural and attitudinal factors on the amount of avoidable food waste generated in Finnish households, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 183-191.

Luecke, L 2015, haste to no waste, ‘a multi-component food waste study in a university dining facility,’ proceedings of the national conference on undergraduate research (ncur) 2015, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.

Lyon, M and Ramachandran S 2013, applying a value chain collaboration perspective to addressing food waste in the United States, packaging-based solutions to consumer food waste, Dow Sustainability Fellowship.

Parfitt1 J, Barthel2 M, And Macnaughton, S 2010, food waste within food supply chains: quantification and potential for change to 2050, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 365, 3065–3081, retrieved on 11th March, 2016,


Tielens J & Candel J 2014, reducing food wastage, improving food security? Food & Business Knowledge Platform.

Wharton, G 2015, mobile interaction design approaches for reducing domestic food waste, School Of Design Queensland University Of Technology.

Whitehair, K. J., Shanklin, C.W. and. Brannon, L.A 2013, Written Messages Improve Edible Food Waste Behaviours in a University Dining Facility, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Vol.113, pp:63-69.

Wrap 2012, Consumer Attitudes to Food Waste and Food Packaging, ISBN: 978-1-84405-465-7