Reasons for household food waste with special attention to packaging
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The amount of food waste needs to be reduced in order to sustain the world’s limited resources and secure enough food to all humans. Packaging plays an important role in reducing food waste. The knowledge about how packaging affects food waste in households, however, is scarce. This exploratory study examines reasons for food waste in household and especially how and to what extent packaging influences the amount of food waste. Sixty-one families measured their amount of food waste during seven days and noted in a diary why each item was wasted. Thirty of the families had participated earlier in an environmental project including education in environmental issues of everyday life. About 20–25% of the households’ food waste could be related to packaging. Three packaging aspects dominate the packaging related waste: packages that the consumer noted as being too big and packages that were difficult to empty, and wastage because of passed “best before date”. The environmentally educated households wasted less, especially of prepared food. They also wasted less food due to passed “best before date”. These households were more observant to packaging aspects in relation to food waste. The observations made could be used to learn more about packaging attributes that affect food waste. Although they recognised packaging influence on food waste, these households expressed lower satisfaction with packaging functions and wanted packaging to a lower extent.
This is the authors’ final, accepted and refereed manuscript to the article.