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Food waste at the consumer level

Code: 9781786766823
Elhadi M. Yahia, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico; and Marie Mourad, Center for the Sociology of Organizations (CSO), France

Chapter synopsis: Consumers account for a significant amount of food waste globally. In Europe and North America, for example, half of food losses and waste happens at the consumer level. Researchers have identified a range of causes for consumer food waste. Studies indicate that the social context of food practices, such as changes in household composition, eating habits, the proportion of consumer budgets spent on food, are among the factors that play a key role. The food industry contributes to consumers discarding food through package design, confusing date labels, inappropriate portion sizes, and marketing schemes that encourage over-purchasing. Most interventions to reduce food waste at the consumer level have focused on educating consumers and raising awareness, but the evidence for their effectiveness still needs to be demonstrated. More effective campaigns need to address multiple factors shaping consumer behavior and integrate these initiatives into an overall restructuring of the food system to limit overproduction and waste.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2019.0053.14
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Extent of consumer food waste across the world 3 Causes of consumer food waste 4 Strategies to reduce consumer food waste 5 Conclusions 6 References

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