Behavioral approach to food waste: an experiment
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SourceBritish Food Journal, 119, 4, (2017), pp. 882-894
Article / Letter to editor
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Economische theorie en economisch beleid
British Food Journal
SubjectIntegrated Decision Making (ID)
PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of behavioral interventions and nudging in dealing with the food waste problem. In particular, the authors implement an information campaign aiming to increase consumers’ awareness of the food waste problem. DESIGN/METHODOLOGY/APPROACH: In the period of three weeks, the authors observe intentions to prevent food waste and actual food waste of the consumers in a university restaurant serving ready meals. During the intervention period, consumers are exposed to an information campaign, designed to avoid consumers’ insufficient planning problem. FINDINGS: Consumers are willing to pay the same price for less food more often during the campaign than before the campaign, but the approximated impact on the food waste is not significant. Social emotions of guilt and shame are linked to consumers’ intentions to prevent food waste, suggesting channels to be included in a successful information campaign nudging consumers toward food waste reduction. RESEARCH LIMITATIONS/IMPLICATIONS: The authors were not able to measure precisely food waste, but observed consumers in a real-life context. Consumers were not aware of the study, and made daily purchase decisions before and after the information campaign. SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS: Consumer behavior is at the core of the food waste problem in developed countries. It is important to understand how consumers can be nudged at low cost, using an information campaign, to change their attitude to food waste, and to decrease food waste. ORIGINALITY/VALUE: The authors collected an original dataset on the impact of an information campaign, observing behavior of consumers in a real-life context.
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