Preventing household food waste via nudging: An exploration of consumer perceptions
Abstract Current food consumption and production cannot be considered sustainable due to extensive ecological, social and economic issues along the supply chain. Reducing food waste is a major instrument in increasing food security and alleviating environmental pressure and thus increasing sustainable food consumption. In Germany, the main generators of food waste are private households. The typical approach to mitigate this is to better inform consumers by means of awareness campaigns. However, research shows that additional solutions are required to tackle the problem of household food waste. Nudging is a relatively new approach to guide consumer behavior gently into a certain direction but there is little experience with its application in the field of consumption politics, let alone food waste reduction. The study addresses this research gap and conducts a first exploratory analysis of the possibilities to reduce household food waste via nudging. The study focuses on the use of food purchase plans as a means to reduce household food waste. It analyses 101 personal questionnaires which were carried out to extract consumers' preferences in this respect. The evidence shows that respondents are open to a change of behavior and also to the use of purchase plans. Furthermore they are interested in feedback on individual food wasting behavior, specific advice on meal planning and social interaction on this topic with their communities. The results also show that young respondents and those living in large households with families are more open to changing their behavior in this respect. These results may be used to gain first experiences in using nudging to reduce household food waste; however, future research is needed to validate and build on these results.
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