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A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level (2020)

Chapter: Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
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Appendix D

Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature

This appendix presents examples of selected studies that the committee reviewed to assess the effectiveness of interventions to reduce food waste at the consumer level. To provide context for the examples, which are presented in boxes D-1 through D-13, the text from Chapter 4 that summarizes each intervention type is repeated here. At the end of the examples, Table D-1 summarizes all of the intervention studies, grouped by one of two tier levels and setting. Tier 1 studies met four criteria: an intervention was implemented; wasted food was measured; causal effect can be attributed; statistical analysis was adequate; tier 2 studies failed to meet at least one of the four criteria. The settings in the studies were universities, schools, restaurants, retail establishments, and households.

The studies in this appendix are organized by type of intervention, paralleling the structure in Chapter 4. Interventions were selected for description in the boxes based on their ability to inform understanding of the intervention type or to provide ideas for future research and interventions. Most studies include more than one intervention type, and in a few cases the committee opted to discuss a study twice, highlighting different aspects of it in separate examples.

Table D-1 provides a comprehensive overview of the studies meeting our inclusion criteria, though not all of them are covered in the boxes; the table also includes a handful of modeling studies. Although they are based on assumptions and less on empirical data, modeling studies are useful in that they explore not only the effect of interventions on wasted food, but

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

also effects on other variables of interest. Therefore, they can be particularly well designed to explore potential systems-level effects. Description of the literature search process can be found in Appendix B.

The summary and conclusions from the committee’s review is presented in Chapter 4, which also presents the criteria that the committee used to assess the quality of the studies and to group by tier levels.

APPEALS

Appeal interventions encourage consumers to change their behavior to achieve a social benefit. Explicit appeals, which request action directly, are distinct from implicit appeals, which do not make a request. Implicit appeals may be based on a presumption that the facts will tap into existing attitudes or values, or may serve as prompts to action by raising awareness. Explicit appeals build on those mechanisms, and also activate the human tendency to respond to requests, particularly when they align with values, when the requestor is valued, or when something is owed to the requestor (reciprocity). Twenty-five of the 64 studies reviewed by the committee included appeal interventions, including 13 which used explicit appeals (Box D-1), 3 which used implicit appeals (Box D-2), and 9 that used both and other intervention types (Box D-3). The largest number of interventions presented signage or other messaging in food service venues, often in universities. Other interventions provided messages directly to study participants, or engaged participants in creating messages; one pair of studies involved delivering messages to the general public.

One tier 1 study (Ellison et al., 2019; United States) found a null effect for the appeal component, and one found an overall null intervention effect (Liz Martins et al., 2016; Portugal), but it was not possible to isolate the appeal component. All but three of the tier 2 studies found statistically significant impacts, with the magnitude of effect varying. A few tier 2 studies involved comparing appeal interventions with other types, such as providing information (Collart and Interis, 2018, United States), and feedback (Whitehair et al., 2013, United States) with results favorable to appeal interventions. In at least a quarter of the studies it was not possible to disentangle the results of the appeal intervention from those of other interventions included in the study. Few studies looked at maintenance of impact across time.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

ENGAGEMENT

Engagement interventions change psychological processes by engaging the consumer in, for example, setting goals, establishing implementation intentions, making a commitment, or increasing mindfulness toward the target behavior. Some examples of interventions are in Box D-4. Twelve studies (six in tier 1) feature such interventions, which are often multifaceted, operating through multiple drivers. Thus, the results of this type of intervention may be manifested in a variety of ways. These interventions have a mixed record in delivering significant reductions in food waste, which makes it difficult to provide a summary evaluation. For example, engagement interventions delivered in the home included diverse mechanisms: systematic engaging individuals to reconsider household food routines (Devaney and Davies 2017, tier 2, Ireland); providing tools to support changes in meal planning or preparation (Romani et al., 2018, tier 1, Italy);

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

and using gamification to accelerate and deepen learning about wasted food (Soma et al., 2020, tier 1, Canada). Several food service interventions were also comprehensive, involving both food service personnel and patrons (Strotmann et al., 2017, tier 2, Germany) or both food service personnel and student customers (Prescott et al., 2019, tier 1, United States).

The results of these studies suggest that interventions aimed at reprogramming base processes that drive food waste hold promise, but the lack of consistent reductions implies that formulating the multiple elements common to this approach may be difficult. Furthermore, the complex and multifaceted nature of these interventions impedes assessment of which individual strategy or subset of strategies drives efficacy.

SOCIAL COMPARISON

Social comparison interventions operate on principles of social influence. Some examples of interventions are in Box D-5. Twelve studies, all tier 2, included such interventions. The interventions studied were diverse, focusing on social desirability, public commitment, social media communications, communication of social norms, food sharing, and such situations as workshops in which a peer group might influence behavior. The authors of only three of these studies provide quantitative results that make it possible to distinguish the effects of the social comparison intervention from those of other interventions in the study. Two of these three focused on restaurant leftovers. Stockli and colleagues (2018, Switzerland) and Hamerman and colleagues (2018, United States) found that messages designed to invoke social norms (i.e., saying a majority of patrons request to take food home) were not more effective than informative messages. Hamerman and colleagues (2018) found that study participants were significantly more likely to request to take home leftovers when they envisioned dining with friends versus dining with someone they wanted to impress. Five of the studies used qualitative or mixed methods approaches, with all but one suggesting that social comparison was beneficial in preventing waste. Findings from Lazell (2016, United Kingdom) echo those from Hamerman et al. (2018 United States) suggesting that the effectiveness of social comparison interventions can depend on participants’ views about what behavior is normative, and about the social groups with which they are comparing themselves.

Overall, the evidence regarding social comparison interventions is inconclusive, and the research suggests a need for nuanced intervention development and careful selection of social groups for comparison and messaging.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

FEEDBACK

Feedback interventions shape targeted behaviors by providing information that reinforces or corrects those behaviors. Some examples of interventions are in Box D-6. Seven of the studies reviewed (three tier 1) featured feedback interventions, largely as part of multifaceted interventions implemented in food service settings. Thus, it was difficult to identify the independent impact of the feedback strategies. A common strategy was to offer cafeteria patrons feedback concerning the average waste created by other

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

patrons, although studies using such strategies as part of a multifaceted intervention revealed little success. Personalized feedback, often generated for elementary and middle school students in cafeteria settings as part of a multifaceted intervention, showed some statistically significant effects (e.g., Liz Martins et al., 2016, tier 1, Portugal; Prescott et al., 2019, tier 1, United States). Feedback delivered among different food service worker stations within a large hospital facility showed promise as part of a multifaceted intervention that significantly reduced waste (Strotmann et al., 2017, tier 2, Germany). And a qualitative assessment of the use of home cameras to track waste suggests that such approaches could stimulate waste reduction by invoking feelings of shame (Comber and Thieme, 2013, tier 2, United States). Overall, feedback interventions have a mixed record, with weaker effects when feedback is not individualized.

FINANCIAL INCENTIVES

Interventions providing financial incentives alter the monetary consequences of behaviors that can influence the amount of food consumers waste. One tier 1 study in South Korea found that financial penalties that increase with amount of wasted food generated at the household level are more effective at reducing the amount of wasted food than financial penalties tied to community level waste amounts (Lee and Jung, 2017). It has been well documented that overall household waste disposal (food plus nonfood waste) declines when households are forced to pay more for additional amounts of waste (Bel and Gradus, 2016). Nine studies (all tier 2) featured financial interventions. Some examples are in Box D-7. Most involved comparing the effects of retail price reductions with those of other approaches used to encourage consumers to purchase suboptimal (ugly or expired) food that might otherwise be wasted. These studies yielded statistically significant evidence that price reductions can increase purchase intentions. However, alternative motivational approaches, such as highlighting

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

the environmental consequences of food waste, often yielded changes similar to those seen in purchase intentions or enhanced the effectiveness of price discounts.

Two studies focused on quantity (e.g., large pack or multipack) (Le Borgne et al., 2018, tier 2, France; Petit et al., 2019, tier 2, United States). These studies showed that giving consumers information about how such deals can translate to greater waste had less effect on purchase intentions relative to simply lowering unit costs for certain foods. Two studies in food service settings showed mixed results when comparing the efficacy of imposing fines for excessive plate waste with that of emphasizing environmental benefits to reduce plate waste (Chen and Jai, 2018, tier 2, United States; Kuo and Shih, 2016, tier 2, Taiwan).

Overall, financial incentives are a promising way to discourage behaviors that are precursors to food waste and to increase motivation for overall home waste reduction. However, linking financial incentives to decision points specific to wasting food may prove difficult, and establishing efficacy and implementation feasibility will require considerable additional research.

NUDGES

Nudge interventions alter the choice architecture faced by consumers in a manner designed to encourage targeted behaviors without engaging conscious (reflective) decision making (see Chapter 1). The committee reviewed 24 studies (four tier 1) that involved such interventions, most of which addressed food service settings. The nudge interventions studied operated by means of diverse mechanisms, including shifting perceived quantity, altering appeal, or changing the default/easiest action. The interventions assessed in about 40 percent of the studies focused on shifting consumers’ perceptions of quantity through changes to portion size, package size, plate size, or tray availability (see examples in Box D-8). Most of the studies found significant reductions in waste attributable to quantity manipulations, although only two such studies were tier 1. Three studies in the United States (Kim and Morawski, 2013, tier 1; Sarjahani et al., 2009, tier 2; Thiagarajah and Getty, 2013, tier 2) focused on removal of cafeteria trays, which limits quantity by making it more difficult for patrons in buffet settings to carry multiple plates. All three of these studies (plus several non-peer-reviewed) found significant reductions in plate waste. In contrast, one recent non-peer-reviewed literature study (Cardwell et al., 2019) found no effect.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

Another 40 percent of studies involved altering the appeal of food with the intent of decreasing waste by encouraging increased consumption. Several tier 2 studies enhanced appeal directly by improving meal quality or better matching meal components to patron preferences. Box D-9 provides examples of those studies, the majority of which showed a significant reduction in waste for these interventions.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

Other studies, including two tier 1 studies (Ilyuk, 2018, United States; Williamson et al., 2016, United States) involved nudges to increase appeal less directly, including by altering the quality of the material of the plate used; providing priming messages to subtly enhance the self-esteem of customers considering the purchase of suboptimal foods; making purchasing require more effort to enhance the consumer’s psychological ownership of food; and providing cafeteria meals after recess, when student appetite would be greater. Box D-10 provides examples of four of these studies, all of which found significant effects.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

The remaining studies (all tier 2) involved forcing changes to consumers’ default behaviors (see examples in Box D-11). Two studies focused on date labels, with one altering descriptive phrases (e.g., changing “sell by” to “use by”) to stimulate different processing of date information (no effect) and the other removing dates to force different evaluation approaches for product freshness (significant reduction).

One study (Manzocco et al. (2017, tier 2, Italy) considered how lowering ambient refrigerator temperatures might help consumers discard less produce and elicited consumer-intended discard of salad packages that were maintained under different refrigeration conditions (see also below for modeling studies that highlight the potential benefits of improving refrigeration technology). Extending the time period at which food remains at peak quality is among the most promising approaches to preventing waste at all levels of the food supply chain, and such approaches have particular utility for helping consumers navigate scheduling shifts that prevent using purchased food when planned. Although considerable technological design effort exists in that space, such as packaging, including modeling studies assessing potential impacts, they are seldom tested in interventions that

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

specifically assess the impact on consumer discards; and thus other studies did not qualify for this review.

Policies that ban organic waste from landfills can also change default behaviors (Sandson and Broad Leib, 2019) although none of the studies reviewed examined such interventions.

Overall, the empirical support of nudge interventions focused on shifting food quantity and appeal is the stronger than that for any of the other intervention types with statistically significant effect sizes being documented in multiple studies of this intervention type. However, the evidence is mixed, dominated by tier 2 studies, and limited in context (studies of nudges were primarily short-run evaluations carried out in buffet settings). Further, the potential for these interventions to be feasible needs to be considered in light of effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as how the closing of food service venues during the pandemic will affect other practices related to food.

INFORMATION

One of the most common and seemingly intuitive approaches to addressing food waste is providing participants with concrete advice aimed at helping them reduce their waste: a tool for action, such as knowledge or skills regarding how to reduce waste. This category is distinct from appeal and feedback interventions, which also provide forms of information; information interventions entail providing only “how-to” information. Intervention designs of this type are often rooted in the theory of planned behavior (see Chapter 1).

The committees’ literature search identified 22 studies that included information interventions, three of which are tier 1 studies (see examples in Box D-12). The interventions studied were fairly evenly divided between household and food service settings. In most cases, the guidance provided included multiple how-to tips targeting different strategies for reducing food waste or preserving food longer. The information and tools provided were often designed to be proximate to the point of decision making (e.g., refrigerator magnets and food containers for storage decisions, spreadsheets for use when planning meals). Advice was provided in a variety of modalities, from pamphlets and information packets to films, signage, and social media.

In most cases, the information interventions paired advice with other interventions, such as calls to action, tracking, or communication of social norms. Thus in many of the studies (8 of the 22, including 2 of the 3 tier 1 studies (Liz Martins et al., 2016; Portugal; van der Werf et al., 2019, Canada), it was not possible to distinguish the effects of the information component itself. The third tier 1 study (Soma et al., 2020, Canada) showed

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

a small effect for the information component when the intervention encouraged participants to engage actively with the information through quizzes with rewards, while passive participation or modes that required more coordination to achieve engagement (attending group workshops) failed to produce significant waste reduction.

Six of the tier 2 studies found significant positive effects that could be attributed directly to the information provision. One involved tailoring the information provided based on pretest results, a procedure that significantly improved outcomes (Schmidt, 2016, Germany). Two studies found null effects of the information provision (Ahmed et al., 2018, United States; Jagau and Vvrastekova, 2017, The Netherlands). In some cases, the effects measured reflected intermediate outcomes, such as knowledge. Qualitative studies generally found positive effects for providing information through such means as intensive small group sessions. The committee also reviewed two studies (tier 2) where a U.K. retailer implemented multiple informational and social approaches using communication techniques, with positive effects on food waste (Young et al., 2017, 2018). Several other reports of large-scale information interventions that had not been peer reviewed also suggested potential positive impacts for information interventions.

In summary, while some studies suggest significant effects may be achieved with simple informational interventions alone, other studies suggest null effects, and long-term impacts must be assessed. Additionally, as the public grows more knowledgeable about wasted food, the impact of informational approaches may be reduced.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

MODELING STUDIES

While high-quality empirical evaluations are critical for providing robust recommendations concerning the effectiveness of interventions to reduce wasted food at the consumer level, studies that develop, calibrate, and simulate models of consumer behavior (modeling studies) can also provide important insights concerning the potential effectiveness of individual interventions or suites of interventions. Given the burden of implementation and tracking, most intervention studies focus on a single stage in the consumer process (e.g., purchase, home meal preparation, consumption, discard) rather than systems-level interventions. Modeling studies can provide insights into systems-level spillovers that might occur in response to interventions, including predictions concerning behavioral and organizational responses that occur at other points in the food supply chain and the associated costs and benefits. Modeling studies generally rely on empirical work for calibration, and hence the insights generated are circumscribed by the validity of those empirical efforts. Still, they are often critical in order to connect narrow and potentially fragmented empirical efforts into a systems vision that permits broader assessment and evaluation of interventions. Box D-13 describes the modeling studies the committee reviewed: unless otherwise mentioned, these studies did not feature primary data collection.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

TABLE D-1 Studies on Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level, by Tier and Setting

Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Setting: University
Tier 1b
Ellison et al., 2019
(United States)
Campaign had no significant effect on food waste but changed beliefs related to food waste Multifaceted with four elements (5 weeks):
  • food waste’s economic, environmental, and social consequences
  • how much food was wasted last week compared with a goal
  • ask each student to change behavior
  • list positive efforts (donation, digestion of uneaten food) undertaken by dining hall
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Feedback

Drivers

A-Knowledge

C-Waste vs. other goals

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychological distance

Unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Kim and Morawski, 2013
(United States)
Tray removal had a significant effect size on food waste Removal of trays from the cafeteria (6 days) Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Exclusion of breakfast, which often features less waste, and could bias effect size upward; excludes patrons who did not use a tray even though one was available, which could bias effect size upward; does not measure long-run acclimation to trayless dining
Qi and Roe, 2017
(United States)
Both information interventions with buffet diners yield significant reductions in plate waste 2 × 2 (several sessions) intervention design:
  • information sheet about food waste and its impacts
  • information that the food waste from the meal would be composted rather than discarded
Intervention Types
  • Appeals

Drivers

C-Waste vs. other goals

E-Psychological distance

Short-run assessment only; limited food menu items
Williamson et al., 2016
(United States)
More food served on disposable (i.e., paper) plates is wasted than when the same food is served on permanent (i.e., hard plastic) plates. This effect persists when instead of being served a fixed quantity of food, participants select the amount and type of food Replacing paper with plastic plates in free buffet settings in five experimental conditions, two laboratory and three field studies:

(1) classroom

(2) online survey

(3A) university dining hall

(3B) university dining hall

(3C) high school cafeteria

Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A- Knowledge

E-Psychological distance

Study at universities (3A and 3B) had different limitations: study 3A plate material was confounded with food options served; study 3B captured amount wasted but not amount taken; both featured small samples (n ~ 40); no study featured the same limitation and all converged to similar magnitude of effect size
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Tier 2b
Chen and Jai, 2018
(United States)
Environmentally focused messages had a greater favorable influence on consumer attitudes toward food waste prevention than a threat-focused message;
a higher level of perceived social corporate responsibility increased intentions to reduce food waste;
perceived social corporate responsibility moderated the relationship between attitudes toward food waste messaging and the intention to reduce food waste
Information (3 months) in hypothetical buffet dining scenario (student and faculty survey) in a 2 × 2 intervention design:
  • message focus (help the environment vs. the threat of a fine)
  • source attribution (none vs. EPA)
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

A-Knowledge

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychological distance

I- Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured; other limitations: sample limited to university students and staff
Freedman and Brochado, 2010
(United States)
Portion size was positively correlated with consumption per diner and plate waste; total amount produced in the kitchen was positively correlated with plate waste Intervention decreased the portion size of French fries (plate size was 88g and decreased through weeks 2-5) Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers:

A-Knowledge

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no control group
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Jagau and Vyrastekova, 2017
(The Netherlands)
Consumers were willing to pay the same price for less food more often during the campaign than before the campaign, but the approximated impact on food waste was not significant Information campaign (3 weeks) with banners, posters, and a recommendation to ask for a smaller portion if consumers expect not to finish the meal portion; designed to avoid consumers’ insufficient planning problem Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group
Kuo and Shih, 2016
(Taiwan)
Overall average plate waste was slightly reduced with the information intervention and reduced dramatically with the coercion intervention 3-week longitudinal design:
  • Baseline: first week, no intervention
  • Intervention 1 (week 2): information strategy (information encouraging patrons not to overeat and waste food)
  • Intervention 2 (week 3): coercion strategy (threat of a fine if too much food was left on table)
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

A-Knowledge

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

Criteria not met: no control group; statistical significance not assessed
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Lazell, 2016
(United Kingdom)
The effects of the intervention were null due to insufficient usage of the intervention tool due to situational barriers Mixed method study with surveys, semistructured interviews, focus groups, and an intervention (4 months):
  • a social media tool on Twitter that interrupted the linear process of consumers’ consuming and throwing away food by allowing participants to send messages to inform others of food that would have otherwise been wasted within the study setting
Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: no control group; wasted food not measured, statistical significance not assessed
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Manomaivibool et al., 2016
(Thailand)
The proportion of clean containers (no food waste) rose significantly; a bigger increase was seen among female students than among male students Multifaceted design (5 days):
  • stickers with food ordering tips by food vendors
  • information cards on dining tables about resource use and environmental impacts in food production
  • other materials from FAO “save food” campaign, such as posters and banners with messages and images eliciting a proenvironmental norm
  • encouragement to increase the visibility of the actions via social media to students that took a course with practical tasks to prevent food waste
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychological distance

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: cannot unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Pinto et al., 2018
(Portugal)
A significant mean reduction in the waste consumption index and a significant reduction in unserved food in the kitchen Multifaceted design (16 days):
  • display of informative posters in canteen reminding patrons to choose smaller portions if desired and not to accept food they knew they would not eat
  • students approaching their colleagues to inform them about social impact of food waste and how they could make a difference
  • parallel actions encouraging separation of organic and inorganic waste in the kitchen
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Information

Drivers

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: cannot unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Sarjahani et al., 2009
(United States)
Removing trays in an all-you-can-eat cafeteria setting had a significant effect on food waste Removal of trays from the cafeteria (3 days) Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: data collected was limited to 3 days of the week
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Thiagarajah and Getty, 2013
(United States)
Removing trays in an all-you-can-eat cafeteria setting had a significant effect on solid food waste; it had a nonsignificant effect on liquid waste Removal of trays from the cafeteria (2 weeks) Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group
Vermote et al., 2018
(Belgium)
Smaller portion sizes resulted in a decrease in the total intake of French fries and the total plate waste. Longitudinal design (2 weeks): Baseline: usual porcelain bowl of French fries served (+/-200 g)
Intervention: replaced bowl with smaller volume paper bags (+/-159 g)
Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no control group
Whitehair et al., 2013
(United States)
The point prompt-type message resulted in a reduction in food waste; addition of a more personalized feedback-based message did not stimulate an additional change beyond that of the prompt message Longitudinal design (6 weeks): Baseline: 2 weeks, no intervention
Intervention 1: 1 week, posters and table tents displayed with the following text: “Eat what you take. Don’t waste food.”
Intervention 2: 1 week, same posters and table tents with detailed general waste statistics (feedback-based intervention)
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Feedback

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Setting: School
Tier 1b
Liz Martins et al., 2016
(Portugal)
Two education interventions on soup and main dish waste in an elementary school showed mixed results: significant effects were observed in the short term for students and in the medium term for teachers

Multifaceted design (3 months) educational intervention for students and teachers:

A. For children:

  • noted the social, economic, and nutritional consequences of food waste
  • identified most wasted items
  • helped plan menu to reduce food waste
  • created posters on food waste
  • gold stickers for students who did not wasted food on ‘No Plate Waste Day’

B. For teachers:

  • teacher discussion session on causes of food waste
  • showed food waste statistics for the school and highlighted it was higher than average
  • told of their role in influencing children’s food waste behavior
  • encouraged to model behavior at lunch
  • given flyer about importance of food waste and strategies to reduce it
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Feedback
  • Information

Drivers

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychological distance

Other limitations: cannot unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
   

B. For teachers:

  • teacher discussion session on causes of food waste
  • showed food waste statistics for the school and highlighted it was higher than average
  • told of their role in influencing children’s food waste behavior
  • encouraged to model behavior at lunch
  • given flyer about importance of food waste and strategies to reduce it
   
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Prescott et al., 2019
(United States)
Educational intervention for 6th graders with significant reductions of fruit and vegetable plate waste 5 months postintervention; the extent of the reduction depended on food and point in time Mixed methods with multifaceted design:
  • five lesson plans (~ 2 weeks) integrated into existing curriculum that met 6th- grade science standards, including units on food waste and school cafeteria waste
  • tasking students with estimating their personal lunch waste for 1 week and then aggregate and post class-wide results
  • created a poster about lessons from unit, selected best posters to hang in cafeteria during last month of intervention
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Feedback

Drivers

A-Knowledge

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychosocial distance

Plate waste measurements over time not taken from identical menus; control group (7th and 8th graders) was older than treatment group (6th graders); treated classrooms required teacher to be willing to participate; cannot unpack individual effects of each intervention element.
Williamson et al., 2016
(United States)
More food served on disposable (i.e., paper) plates was wasted than when the same food was served on permanent (i.e., hard plastic) plates; the effect persisted when instead of being served a fixed quantity of food, participants selected the amount and type of food Replacing paper with plastic plates in free buffet settings in five different experiments (two laboratory and three field studies):

(1) classroom

(2) online survey

(3A) university dining hall

(3B) university dining hall

(3C) high school cafeteria

Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A- Knowledge

E-Psychological distance

Study 3C treatment occurred 1 month later than control measures though for the same menu items, but cannot rule out seasonal trend; no study featured the same limitation, and all converged to similar magnitude of effect size
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Tier 2b
Barnes and Warren, 2017
(United States)
After MyPlate Food Group books were read once a day for 2 weeks by teachers, changes in food consumption behaviors measured by food waste were not observed, but teachers indicated changes in the preschoolers’ attitudes toward trying new foods Preschool classroom reading (2 weeks) of MyPlate Food Group books concerning origins and benefits of certain food groups (grains, fruits, and vegetables) Intervention Types
  • Engagement

Drivers

E-Psychological distance

Limited to 2- to 5-year-olds; insufficient power to detect differences;
intervention was not geared toward reducing food waste
Bergman et al., 2004
(United States)
Plate waste was compared between two elementary schools: plate waste in the school where recess was scheduled before lunch was significantly less than when recess was scheduled after lunch Intervention: change in practice (10 days) with recess after school lunch
Control: recess before school lunch
Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no new intervention tested; rather, schools with preexisting differences in scheduling recess and lunch were compared; other limitations: no pre- and post-measurement as the scheduling of recess times had always differed between these two schools; no randomization of school to treatment
Cohen et al., 2014
(United States)
No overall significant difference in plate waste between intervention and control; significantly less plate waste for side items for intervention schools Training of staff for 2 years and introduction of a healthier lunch in two Boston schools Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

No measurement of plate waste pre-intervention
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Schwartz et al., 2015
(United States)
Increased consumption (less food waste) of entrée meals and vegetables; no significant changes in consumption of milk or fruit Implementation (36 days) of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act required by USDA to update the nutrition standards of the National School Lunch Program; new policies were implemented in the 2012-2013 school year Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group
Chan et al., 2008
(United States)
There was no difference in consumption for the 50:50 blend or the refined wheat pizza crusts Partially substitute white whole wheat flour for refined-wheat flour in pizza crust Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: study goal was not reducing food waste
Setting: Restaurant
Tier 1b
Kallbekken and Saelen, 2013
(Norway)
Each intervention resulted in a significant reduction in food waste Two different interventions (6 weeks)
  • sign encouraging multiple trips to buffet
  • reduction of plate size
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Other limitations: long-term effects not assessed
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Tier 2b
Berkowitz et al., 2016
(United States)
Food waste was significantly reduced in intervention compared with the baseline period; energy intake and intakes of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, calcium, potassium, and iron were significantly lower when both full- and reduced-size entrées were served in the worksite setting and in the restaurant setting compared with when only full-size entrées were served Intervention (7 weeks): reduce and full size serving of food items at a noncommercial worksite cafeteria and a commercial upscale restaurant
Control: only full-size entrées were offered for each entrée of the day
Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

F-Dietary differences

Criteria not met: no control group
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Stockli et al., 2018
(Switzerland)
Diners who were prompted asked for leftover bags more frequently than controls;
diners who were prompted with an informative and a normative message did not ask for leftover bags more frequently than those prompted with information only
Intervention design (6 weeks):
  • Intervention 1: table placards: “Food waste happens in the restaurant too. A third of all foods are thrown away. 45% of waste occurs in households and restaurants. Please ask us to box your leftover pizza slices for takeaway”
  • Intervention 2. informational plus normative intervention: placards on table: “Our guests expect a reduction of food waste. A third of all foods are thrown away. 45% of the waste occurs in households and restaurants. The majority of our guests expect that the wasting of food is reduced. Therefore, many people ask us to wrap their pizza leftovers. Please ask us to box your leftover pizza slices for takeaway to avert food waste.”
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

H-Marketing practices

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured;
other limitations: food was limited to pizza
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Hamerman et al., 2018
(United States)
Envisioning dining with others who they wanted to impress led to greater perceived likelihood of taking home leftovers when the server proactively offered to wrap the leftovers versus when this did not occur; this difference did not hold true when participants imagined dining companions with whom they were comfortable 2 × 2 intervention design:
  • envision dining at a restaurant with a group of people whom they want to impress or with people with whom they were comfortable
  • envision the server offering to wrap the leftover to take home
Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons

Drivers

F-Different preferences/diets

G-Inconvenience

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured;
other limitations: questionnaire based, virtual restaurant
Wansink and van Ittersum, 2013
(United States)
Looking at the effect of dinnerware size on plate waste, Chinese buffet diners with large plates served more, ate more, and wasted more food than those with smaller plates; educational intervention had no impact on these results Interventions:
  • large vs. small plates in a Chinese buffet
  • the effect of education (a 60-minute, interactive, multimedia warning on the dangers of using large plates in reducing the effect of plate size)
Intervention Types
  • Nudges
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

F-Dietary differences

Subjects not randomized to plate sizes; small number of observations (N = 43)
Kuperberg et al., 2008
(Canada)
With room service, satisfaction increased, food costs decreased at breakfast and lunch, and reductions in waste occurred at all meals Room service delivery system in a pediatric hospital compared with the standard a cold-plating tray delivery system where food is chosen 2 days prior and quality of the food is questionable Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

C-Waste vs. other goals

F-Dietary differences

J-Built environment

Criteria not met: no control group
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Ahmed et al., 2018
(United States)
Intervention led to a nonsignificant reduction in total food waste with a large portion of waste attributed to postconsumer plate waste Multifaceted interventions (1.5 weeks):
  • information-based (educational messaging)
  • technological solution (reduced portion size and smaller serving utensils)
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Feedback
  • Nudges
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: no control; other limitations: unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Lorenz-Walther et al., 2019
(Germany)
Portion size reductions for target dishes were found to relate to lower levels of plate waste based on conscious perception, represented in smaller portion size ratings; effects from seeing information posters based on changed personal attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control, but depended on how an individual reacts to the information (by only making an effort to finish all food or by making an effort and additionally choosing a different dish in the canteen); opposite effects on these determinants and consequently also on plate leftovers Two interventions (2 weeks):
  • information on posters
  • the reduction of portion sizes

Authors also analyzed how the display of information posters and the reduction of portion sizes effect personal, social. and environmental determinants in a structural equation model by applying data from online surveys and observations

Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Nudges
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met; no control; other limitations: disentanglement of effects of the two interventions relies on respondent survey results and statistical modeling
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Strotmann et al., 2017
(Germany)
The average waste rate in the residential home and in the hospital cafeteria were significantly reduced: in the hospital, the average waste rate remained constant; however, the average daily food provided and wasted per person in the hospital declined A participatory approach in which the employees of a hospital, hospital cafeteria, and a residential home were integrated into the process of developing and implementing measures to counteract food waste Intervention Types
  • Engagement
  • Feedback
  • Nudges

Drivers

A-Knowledge

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Setting: Retail Establishment
Tier 2b
Grewal et al., 2019
(Sweden)
Shoppers exposed to a positive self-esteem ad were significantly more likely to choose unattractive apples than those exposed to the control ad: within each advertising condition, shoppers exposed to the control ad message chose attractive apples more often than unattractive apples; in contrast, for shoppers exposed to the positive self-esteem message condition, the choice of attractive and unattractive apples was split evenly 2 × 2 intervention design:
  • in-store advertisements were rotated hourly between two conditions (positive self-esteem condition “You are Fantastic! Pick Ugly Produce!” vs. control “Pick Ugly Produce!”) during regular store hours
  • Signage was displayed behind two unlabeled produce bins: one containing attractive apples and the other containing unattractive apples
Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured (self-report only); other limitations: only short-run effects assessed
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Young et al., 2017
(United Kingdom)
Both the intervention and the control groups self-reported reductions in food waste; the use of social media did not change behavior as self-reported by consumers Two interventions with messages to encourage reductions in food waste from the standard “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign; interventions differed in the communication channel, not the message:
  • use of retailer’s Facebook pages to encourage its customers to interact, or
  • multifaceted intervention via two communication channels, the retailer’s print and digital magazine and e-newsletter
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A- Knowledge

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured;
other limitations: control group not randomly assigned
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Young et al., 2018
(United Kingdom)
Both treatment and control groups reported reduced food waste significantly Various interventions throughout 2 years with messages to encourage reductions in food waste from the standard “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign; interventions differed in the communication channel, not the message:
  • via an article in retailer’s print and digital magazine
  • via a larger article in retailer’s print and digital magazine
  • via an e-newsletter
  • via retailer’s Facebook pages to encourage its customers to interact with each other
  • on-pack stickers designed to invoke norms with tips about how to make the most from selected perishable products
  • in-store events, challenging customers to reduce waste
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A- Knowledge

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured (self-report only); control group not randomly assigned
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
van Giesen and de Hooge, 2019
(various countries)
Sustainability and authenticity positioning can motivate consumers to purchase suboptimal products, independently of their prices; respondents exposed to authenticity positioning reported higher quality perceptions than respondents exposed to sustainability positioning 3 × 3 × 2 intervention design in virtual retail store: three signs over suboptimal products: (1) sustainability-“Embrace imperfection:Join the fight against food waste!”; (2) authenticity- “Naturally imperfect: Apples the way they actually Look!”; (3) control with three prices (discount, moderate, discount, same price) and with two products (apples and carrots) Intervention Types
  • Appeals

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured; other limitations: sample was biased as individuals were already caring for the environment; experiment was conducted in virtual retail store
Aschemann-Witzel, 2018
(Denmark)
Message on the sticker appealing to either a food waste avoidance or to a cost-saving motive did not significantly influence likelihood of choice; however, familiarity and perceived quality was important in whether suboptimal food would be purchased 2 × 4 intervention design in virtual retail store: two product qualities (optimal product vs. suboptimal product) and four messages on stickers: (1) priced reduced; (2) fight food waste; (3) reduced item: lower price and save more; and (4) fight food waste and ‘lower price—save more Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychological factors

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: experiment was conducted in virtual retail store
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2018
(Uruguay)
Communicating the budget saving did not increase choice likelihood of suboptimal product, but communicating the food waste avoidance increases choice likelihood, independent of the product type; when no messages were displayed, there were significant food category differences in choice likelihood 2 × 2 intervention design in virtual retail store (with four food products): two product qualities (optimal product vs. suboptimal product) and two messages on stickers (Offer! Super saver! or Choose this product and help to reduce food waste). Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychological factors

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: experiment was conducted in virtual retail store
Kawata and Kubota, 2018
(Japan)
Willingness to pay for reprocessed domestic and foreign Kara-age was 92.8 percent and 91.7 percent of the prices of regular Kara-age, respectively, showing the feasibility of selling reprocessed form of the product and reducing food waste in the supply chain Surveys on willingness to pay for three choices: (1) regular Kara-age (i.e., made from fresh raw chicken), (2) reprocessed Kara-age (i.e., made from unsold raw chicken near its sell-by date), and (3) no buy Intervention Types
  • Appeals

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychological factors

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: experiment was conducted as a survey
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Del Giudice et al., 2016
(Italy)
The effect of certification on participants’ willingness to pay was significant; the importance of providing footprint information was only observed for the baguette from the retailer with 1 percent food waste certified An experimental auction to measure willingness to pay for the following choices:
  • purchasing baguette from retailer certified to reduce food waste by 10, 5, or 1 percent
  • moderating effect of information about carbon or water footprint
Intervention Types
  • Appeals

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: related to the experiment being conducted as an auction; population was from undergraduate students who might be more aware than others of environmental effects of food waste
Collart and Interis, 2018
(United States)
Clarifying the meaning of date labels was insufficient to change preferences for food past its best-before date; when information about the environmental implications of food waste was provided, participants’ willingness-to-pay for expired food increased, particularly for expired frozen or recently expired semi-perishable products Participants were asked to choose between food products of varying perishability level at various dates before or after their best-before dates. Interventions:
  • education about the meaning of labels
  • same education plus information about the environmental implications of food waste
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives
  • Information

Drivers

B-Assessing risk

I-Psychosocial factors

K-Policy

Criteria not met: food waste not measured
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Le Borgne et al., 2018
(France)
Consumers’ perceived probability of waste had a significant negative effect on consumers’ attitude toward promotions and consumers’ intention to choose perishable food products (cheese and bread) on sale; participants showed skepticism toward the “Buy Two Get One Free Later” offer. Hypothetical product purchase setting to assess the impact of multiproduct sales tactics on intended food waste Intervention Types
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

G-Everyday complexity

H-Marketing practices

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: statistical testing for intention to discard not clearly communicated; effects unclear
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Petit et al., 2019
(United States
Study 1 found that package size affects the anticipated food waste among consumers and that anticipating food waste mediated purchasing intentions, but only observed for perishable products; Study 2 found that priming individuals with information about the consequences of food waste made them more likely to focus on their anticipated food waste and thereby reduce their preference for bonus packs; Study 3 found that anticipated food waste decreased when small packages were sold partitioned, while it increases when large packages were sold partitioned Consumer survey asking about hypothetical product purchases; four different studies:
  • the mediating role of anticipated food waste on consumers’ purchasing intentions as a function of package size (large vs. small)
  • the mediating role of anticipated food waste on consumers’ purchasing intentions as a function of package size and product perishability (2 × 2 study: package size and perishability)
  • whether priming individuals with information about the consequences of food waste influenced their preference for bonus packs, 2 × 3 design: priming (food waste information vs. control) and quantity (an 8-cup package vs. a large promotion package of 8 cups plus 8 cups for free vs. a 16-cup package)
  • whether large packs sold as individual units has an effect on anticipated food waste, 2 × 2 design: small vs. large package and partitioned vs. nonpartitioned package
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives
  • Nudges

Drivers

F-Dietary differences

G-Everyday complexity

H-Marketing practices

Criteria not met: food waste not measured
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
   
  • whether priming individuals with information about the consequences of food waste influenced their preference for bonus packs, 2 × 3 design: priming (food waste information vs. control) and quantity (an 8-cup package vs. a large promotion package of 8 cups plus 8 cups for free vs. a 16-cup package)
  • whether large packs sold as individual units has an effect on anticipated food waste, 2 × 2 design: small vs. large package and partitioned vs. nonpartitioned package
   
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Setting: Household
Tier 1b
Ilyuk, 2018. Study 3
(United States)
Waste likelihood was higher when consumers purchased food items online than when they purchased them in a store Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions:
  • in-store (individual selection),
  • in-store (prepackaged),
  • online produce purchase
Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

E-Psychological distance

Criteria not met: studies 1 and 2 did not measure actual waste; study 3 measured actual waste, but report did not quantify reduction and relied on university students
Romani et al., 2018
(Italy)
Information intervention led to a significant effect size in reducing food waste Longitudinal study with information intervention to illustrate how to organize a weekly menu quickly and simply and a printable Excel file designed to support meal organization and preparation Intervention Types
  • Engagement
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Reliance on household food waste diaries, which are known for underreporting, and sample attrition of about 10 percent between baseline and post-treatment measurement
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
van der Werf et al., 2019
(Canada)
Intervention led to a significant reduction in total food waste. Multifaceted informational intervention in the form of a package designed to extend produce life with the following elements: (1) environmental and social impacts of wasted food; (2) local averages of amount and value of wasted food; (3) reduction tips, such as food planning and use of leftovers; (4) five emails sent over the course of 2 weeks to reinforce the messages Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

E-Psychological distance

Unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Soma et al., 2020
(Canada)
The passive group and the gamification group had higher self-reported awareness of food wasting and lower food wastage than the control group; waste audits found marginally significant differences between the gamification group and the control group and no difference between the other campaign groups and the control group in edible food wasted; frequent gamers were found to generate less edible food waste than infrequent gamers Three different interventions:
  • A passive approach (a booklet with information on why food waste is a problem, tips to reduce food waste at home, and a prompt in the form of a fridge magnet with storage tips)
  • Information campaign plus a community engagement approach (community workshops)
  • Information campaign plus a gamification approach (online quiz game with points and rewards)
Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Engagement
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Lee and Jung, 2017
(South Korea)
The Household-Based Food Waste Charging System can reduce more food waste than the design where all residents pay the same amount for the waste Household-Based Food Waste Charging System, which uses a weight based payment design, through which each household is electronically charged for the weight of food waste they disposes of Control: residents pay the same price by dividing total amount of waste charge by number of households Intervention Types
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

K-Policy

Natural experiment; no randomization of households
Tier 2b
David et al., 2019
(Australia)
Two behavioral states were identified: fruit and vegetable wasters and nonwasters; following the intervention, a significant percentage of people transitioned away from wasters to nonwasters Multifaceted intervention (2 weeks) included providing a shopping bag, chopping board, 16 new leftover reuse recipe cards, invitation flyer and a shopping list and in-store cooking demonstrations Intervention Types
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured; no control group; other limitations: only fruit and vegetable waste was considered; unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Devaney and Davies, 2017
(Ireland)
Participant households reduced their overall food waste generation Multifaceted intervention directed at changing behaviors toward being more sustainable, through purchasing, storage, and preparation, including information (a guide to smarter food storage), tools (compostable food waste boxes) Intervention Types
  • Engagement
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group; other limitations: unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element; only fruit and vegetable waste considered; N = 5.
Dyen and Sirieix, 2016
(France)
Cooking classes were efficient to promote less food waste Ongoing cooking classes on how to cook with products from the food bank in social center for people with social instability Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

Criteria not met: no control group; statistical significance not assessed; other limitations: N = 3
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Graham-Rowe et al., 2019
(United Kingdom)
There was a higher difference in fruit and vegetable waste before and after reading information about the negative consequences of household food waste for the standard self-affirmation group than for the control group Online questionnaire where participants read information about the negative consequences of household food waste after:
  • standard self-affirmation manipulation, where participants chose their most important value among those in a list
  • an integrated self-affirmation manipulation, where the list of values included could influence success at reducing household food waste
  • control task
Intervention Types
  • Appeals

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured; other limitations: only fruit and vegetable waste considered
Gutiérrez-Barba and Ortega-Rubio, 2013
(Mexico)
There was reduction in food waste among families in the intervention group; food waste reduction was not reported for control group Eight families attending a 32-hour workshop on the health and environmental impacts and skills and technical expertise to reducing food waste in six weekly sessions; the control group was 33 families not attending the workshop Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: inadequate statistical reporting; other limitations: control group not randomly assigned
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Kowalewska and Kołłajtis-Dołowy, 2018
(Poland)
Questionnaires showed that knowledge about food waste increased after the intervention; analyses of the effect of intervention on food waste was not conducted Intervention via four short (3- to 4-minute) education videos on food wastage and its prevention Intervention Types
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured (self-report only); inadequate statistical reporting
Lim et al., 2017
(The Netherlands)
Intervention raised awareness; behavior change was not explored nor claimed in this study Technology intervention:
  • combined a social recipe app where users report available and wasted ingredients; based on these, recipes are created and users are sent recipes with smart bins that collects wasted ingredients
  • social recipes app plus a bin for monitoring food waste and eco-feedback application
Intervention Types
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

I-Psychosocial factors

J-Built environment

Criteria not met: waste food was not measured (self-report only); inadequate statistical reporting
Morone et al., 2018
(Italy)
The adoption of food sharing practices by households did not automatically translate into food waste reduction Intervention: students were instructed to purchase, cook, and consume food collectively Intervention Types
  • Engagement

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Evident problems included participants who dropped out or cheated
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Rohm et al., 2017
(Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden and The Netherlands)
Brochures and refrigerator magnets had no detectable effect on consumer attitudes, self-reported behavior, and suboptimal food choice; more consumers bought a banana when the sustainability message was next to them than when the price was lowered or when a taste message was presented Multifaceted intervention was used to motivate consumers to purchase and accept suboptimal food in stores and in their households:
  • via a brochure
  • a refrigerator magnet
  • a website
  • a Facebook group on self-reported suboptimal food choices and behaviors

An in-store intervention where different messages were tested to identify the potential effects on consumer behavior

Intervention Types
  • Appeals
  • Financial incentives

Drivers

H-Marketing practices

I-Psychosocial factors

Schmidt, 2016
(Germany)
Significant higher increase in the self-reported performance of recorded food waste-preventing behaviors in the experimental group than in the control group Multifaceted interventions (4 weeks):
  • providing information (recommendations to prevent food waste)
  • public commitment
  • goal-setting measure
Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons
  • Information

Drivers

A-Knowledge

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: wasted food not measured (self-report only); other limitations: unable to unpack individual effects of each intervention element
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Comber and Thieme, 2013
(United Kingdom)
The intervention had no effect on changes in attitude toward recycling and food waste but had an impact on participants’ awareness of their own and others’ recycling behavior and this awareness prompted self-reflection and reevaluation of the facilities and abilities available to the participants for recycling Multifaceted intervention: a two-part persuasive technology, which replaced an everyday waste bin with one enabled to capture and share images of disposed of waste on an online social network Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons
  • Feedback

Drivers

D-Lack of awareness-monitoring

I-Psychosocial factors

Criteria not met: no control group; no measure of food waste, but only measure of attitude and behavior related to recycling and food waste
Sintov et al., 2017
(United States)
No evidence for positive spillover effects on energy and water behaviors but none of the three food spillover behaviors were significant (food, energy, and water waste prevention), except for a marginal effect for checking food before shopping Individuals received curbside organic waste bins (structural intervention) and procedural information about composting (information intervention) were randomly assigned, following the midpoint assessment, to receive weekly descriptive norms messaging for 8 weeks: 75 percent of households in Costa Mesa separated all of their food scraps this week, Intervention Types
  • Social comparisons

Drivers

C-Waste vs. other goals

D-Lack of awareness/monitoring

G-Everyday complexity

I-Psychosocial factors

J-Built environment

Criteria not met: food waste not measured, but only measure of food waste prevention behaviors (planning out meals and assessing/using food at home before shopping) were recorded by survey
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Study Findings Intervention Intervention Types and Driversa Limitations
Roe et al., 2018
(United States)
Containers with date labels resulted in increases in discard intentions for milk that is putatively -Past Date- among commercial bottlers compared with containers without such labels; multivariate analysis revealed that discard intentions are lower among participants with higher incomes and fewer household members, but revealed no other significant correlations with personal or household characteristics A “sell by” label with a date set to 18 days post-bottling Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

B-Assessing risk

I-Psychosocial factors

K-Policy

Criteria not met: food waste was not measured
Wilson et al., 2017
(United States)
The willingness to waste was greatest in the -Use By- treatment, the date label which may be the least ambiguous and suggestive of food safety; the willingness to waste was the lowest for the “Sell by: treatment, which may be the most ambiguous date label about safety or quality for consumers Labels on “Best by”, “Fresh by”, “Use by” or “Sell by” on three products, two sizes, and three expiration dates Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

B-Assessing risk

I-Psychosocial factors

K-Policy

Criteria not met: food waste not measured
Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×
Manzocco et al., 2017
(Italy)
Increase in storage temperature did not affect salad firmness and weight loss but increased color changes, microbial growth, and consumer rejection; the survey showed that fresh-cut salad was mainly consumed within the first 5 days after purchasing A survey on salad consumption: participants were asked to consider discard of the product, which was presented to them after being held at different refrigeration temperatures, without their knowledge; participants were also asked to report on their usual habits regarding acquisition and shelf life of lettuce in their households Intervention Types
  • Nudges

Drivers

J-Built environment

Criteria not met: food waste not measured; other limitations: effects unclear; estimated a rejection curve but did not provide straightforward tests of the effect of temperature on intended discard rate

NOTES: EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; FAO, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization; USDA, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

a Drivers are defined as: A-knowledge; B-assessing risk; C-waste vs. other goals; D-lack of awareness/monitoring; E-psychological distance; F-dietary differences; G-everyday complexity; H-marketing practices; I-psychosocial factors; J-built environment; and K-policy.

b Tier 1 studies met four criteria: an intervention was implemented; wasted food was measured; causal effect can be attributed; and statistical analysis was adequate. Tier 2 studies failed to meet at least one of the four criteria.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix D: Interventions to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level: Examples from the Literature." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25876.
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Next: Appendix E: Research on Behavioral Change from Other Domains »
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Approximately 30 percent of the edible food produced in the United States is wasted and a significant portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level. Despite food's essential role as a source of nutrients and energy and its emotional and cultural importance, U.S. consumers waste an estimated average of 1 pound of food per person per day at home and in places where they buy and consume food away from home. Many factors contribute to this waste—consumers behaviors are shaped not only by individual and interpersonal factors but also by influences within the food system, such as policies, food marketing and the media. Some food waste is unavoidable, and there is substantial variation in how food waste and its impacts are defined and measured. But there is no doubt that the consequences of food waste are severe: the wasting of food is costly to consumers, depletes natural resources, and degrades the environment. In addition, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has severely strained the U.S. economy and sharply increased food insecurity, it is predicted that food waste will worsen in the short term because of both supply chain disruptions and the closures of food businesses that affect the way people eat and the types of food they can afford.

A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level identifies strategies for changing consumer behavior, considering interactions and feedbacks within the food system. It explores the reasons food is wasted in the United States, including the characteristics of the complex systems through which food is produced, marketed, and sold, as well as the many other interconnected influences on consumers' conscious and unconscious choices about purchasing, preparing, consuming, storing, and discarding food. This report presents a strategy for addressing the challenge of reducing food waste at the consumer level from a holistic, systems perspective.

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