Consumer Food Waste: Understanding Why Consumers Do Not Eat the Food They Acquire


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One-third of all food suitable for human consumption is wasted or lost in the supply chain, causing substantial negative economic, social and environmental consequences. In developed countries, consumers are the single biggest producers of food waste.
This dissertation aims to increase the theoretical understanding of the complex issue of consumer food waste. The fundamental research question concerns why consumers acquire food that they ultimately do not consume, but waste instead. Chapter 2 presents an extensive literature review of theoretical and empirical findings concerning consumer food waste and identifies promising future research directions. Chapters 3 and 4 draw on construal level theory and demonstrate that the temporal distance between a consumption decision (e.g., when making weekly food purchases in the grocery store) and the actual consumption moment (e.g., when preparing the meal) is critical in explaining why consumers acquire food that ends up being wasted. Chapter 4 further demonstrates that food is less likely to be wasted when consumers opt for more convenient food options—food options that require little time and effort to be prepared. Finally, Chapter 5 presents a general discussion of this research and its outcomes, explores both managerial and practical implications, and offers directions for future research.
This dissertation provides new insights into the behavioral mechanisms underlying consumer food waste and directions on how to minimize food waste. Decreasing food waste is contingent on, for instance, the consumer’s ability to make realistic and smart decisions in the grocery store, and to stick to previously made consumption plans.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • van Doorn, Jenny, Supervisor
  • van Ittersum, Koert, Supervisor
Datum van toekenning5-nov.-2020
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-034-2835-2
Elektronische ISBN's978-94-034-2836-9
StatusPublished - 2020


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