Examining the relationship between consumers’ food-related actions, wider pro-environmental behaviours, and food waste frequency: A case study of the more conscious consumer
The implications of food waste extend to the environment, society, and the economy. In the Global North, consumers’ food waste contributes significantly to the current global levels, with action and practice largely driving this contribution. The resulting policies largely centre around raising awareness amongst consumers. However, awareness is not always found to lead to action, resulting in what is termed the ‘value-action gap’. Thus, the focus of this study is on consumers who have demonstrated awareness and knowledge of food waste issues in their willingness to take part in a home food growing campaign. This sample allows us to examine how consumers can be moved beyond awareness and encouraged towards action. This study investigates the actions and practices of consumers that contribute to the likelihood of wasting food while also exploring the relationship between wider pro-environmental behaviour and food waste in the context of social practice theory. Quantitative analysis of survey data (n = 1106) shows that growing food and composting decrease the likelihood of wasting food, supporting a shift in mindset surrounding how food is viewed and reducing the disconnect between consumers and food that is prevalent in modern society. Overall engagement in wider pro-environmental behaviours was found to decrease an individual’s likelihood of wasting food. A layered policy approach with a practices perspective is suggested, with recommendations proposed for interventions and initiatives at individual, community, and broader societal levels.
Consumer food waste , Food-related actions , Wider environmental behaviours , Pro-environmental behaviours
Marwood, S., Byrne, N., McCarthy, O., Heavin, C. and Barlow, P. (2023) 'Examining the relationship between consumers’ food-related actions, wider pro-environmental behaviours, and food waste frequency: A case study of the more conscious consumer', Sustainability, 15(3), 2650 (30pp). doi: 10.3390/su15032650