Ability (to prevent food waste): A person’s proficiency at solving the problems encountered when performing actions that help prevent food waste. Relevant aspects of ability are knowledge and skills (Van Geffen et al., 2016).
Appeals: A type of intervention to change behavior for the social good (environment, other humans, etc.) where messages are provided containing statistics, factors, narratives, but also possibly normative or descriptive content, including explicit persuasive framing and behavior change prompts with the intention of changing behavior. Appeals can be explicit (ask individuals directly to act) or implicit (give motivational factoids or information).
Behavioral plasticity: The capacity and degree to which human behavior can be altered by environmental factors such as learning and social experience. In theory, a higher degree of plasticity makes an organism more flexible to change, whereas a lower degree of plasticity results in an inflexible behavior pattern.
Behaviors: An individual, group, organization or system’s external reactions to both internal factors and external stimuli in its environment.
Built environment: Refers to the human-made environment that provides the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings to cities and
beyond. It has been defined as “the human-made space in which people live, work and recreate on a day-to-day basis” (Roof and Oleru, 2008).
Choice architecture: A type of intervention that influences behavior by removing external barriers, expediting access, or altering the structure of the environment in which people make choices. They are usually designated as nudges. There are many different types of nudges, such as those that shift perception of the quantity of food (e.g., changing plate sizes), those that shift perceived appeal or quality of the food (e.g., increasing the appeal of healthy foods) and nudges to shift behaviors to what is easier (e.g., offering healthy food in a cafeteria at the beginning of the line).
Cognitive processing: Ability to take in information and transform it, store it, recover it, and put it to work. “Reflective processing” refers to conscious processing of information where attitudes are formed in light of rational arguments, relevant experiences, and knowledge. Tactics for interventions that appeal to this type of processing include knowledge transfer designed to increase self-efficacy. “Semireflective processing” refers to the formation of attitudes through rules of thumb and simple heuristics or cues. Tactics for interventions that appeal to this type of processing include those focused on social norms, framing, and tailoring. “Automatic processing” refers to choices made on the basis of an automatic response, without the intervention of cognition. Tactics for interventions that appeal to this type of processing include emotional shortcuts, priming, and nudging.
Context: The circumstances, conditions, or objects by which one is surrounded.
Contextual factors: Characteristics unique to a particular group, community, society, or individual. These factors include, but are not limited to, personal, social, cultural, economic, and political factors that exist in differing ways and have varying impacts across population groups.
Descriptive social norm: Informal rules that describe the perception of what most people do.
Driver: The factors that may either promote or mitigate the amount of food they discard. Includes causal factors; those that may be statistically correlated; and “intervening factors,” which are sometimes called “mediators” or “moderators” that help to explain causal pathways. In addition, drivers can include both the presence of factors that tend to promote a given behavior, such as, in the case of food waste, large portion sizes offered at
restaurants, and the absence of factors that discourage a behavior, such as lack of knowledge of the negative consequences of an action.
Efficacy: Efficacy is the extent to which an intervention produces the desired results under ideal circumstances.
Effectiveness: Effectiveness is the extent to which an intervention produces the desired results when provided under the usual circumstances or real world environment.
Engagement: A type of intervention that creates involvement or commitment by cueing individuals (e.g., via goal setting or commitments) toward active psychological interaction with the focal content.
Equity: The absence of avoidable, unfair, or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, geographically, or by other means of stratification.
Exhortation: Synonymous with advice: “a form of relating personal or institutional opinions, belief systems, values, recommendations or guidance about certain situations relayed in some context to another person, group or party often offered as a guide to action and/or conduct.” (Bonaccio and Dalal, 2006).
Feedback: A type of intervention where individuals are given information about their behaviors such that this information can be used to modify future actions. Feedback interventions are often effective to alter behavior (Delmas et al., 2013).
Financial incentive (or economic incentive): A type of intervention offering financial motivations for people to take actions. Examples are taxes, changes in monetary rewards or prices that make someone alter behavior.
Food literacy: A set of knowledge and skills that help people with the daily acquisition, preparation, consumption, and storage of healthy, tasty, affordable meals for themselves and their families.
Framing: Selecting and emphasizing certain aspects to achieve a desired interpretation by using unconscious biases in information processing (Koop et al., 2019).
Gamification: The use of parts of games (e.g., a digital role-playing game in which the player completes challenges or quests designed to educate them about nutrition) in a non-game setting, such as an app designed to
track a behavior by using points and badges (Johnson et al., 2017). As an intervention type, gamification could be considered either an engagement (i.e., it prompts people to set goals and then captures goal pursuit behavior) or feedback (i.e., feedback that is given a hedonic, motivational structure through the addition of incentives).
Habits: Context-behavior associations in memory that develop as people repeatedly experience rewards for a given action in a given context. Habitual behavior is cued directly by context and does not require supporting goals and conscious intentions (Mazar and Wood, 2018).
Injunctive messages: Communications that tell actors what to do or avoid doing in a given context; also called prescriptive messages (Winter et al., 2000).
Information interventions: A type of intervention where messages are offered containing statistics, facts, or narratives, but without explicit persuasive framing or behavior change prompts. For example, statistics about amounts of food waste or their impacts.
Injunctive social norm: Informal rules that describe the perception of what most people approve or disapprove (Cialdini et al., 1991).
Intention: An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions.
Intervention: An intervention is a combination of program elements or strategies designed to produce behavior changes among individuals or an entire population. Interventions that include multiple strategies are typically the most effective in producing desired and lasting change. For this report, the committee categorizes interventions into information, appeals, engagement, social comparison/social influence approaches, and choice architecture/nudges, feedback approaches, financial incentives (Nisa et al., 2019).
Knowledge: Familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
Licensing effect: A case where a prior normatively desirable behavior boosts people’s self-concepts, thus reducing negative self-attributions associated
with subsequent behaviors that may not align with norms (Khan and Dhar, 2006).
Moral norms: Informal rules establishing that something aligns with an abstract right or wrong.
Motivation (to prevent food waste): A person’s willingness to perform actions that reduce the likelihood or amount of food waste being generated. Relevant aspects of motivation are attitude, awareness, and social norms (Van Geffen et al., 2016).
Norms: Informal rules that govern behavior in groups and societies. Norms in this context refers to moral norms (i.e., when people feel that doing something aligns with an abstract right or wrong), injunctive social norms (i.e., feelings about what one ought to do), and descriptive social norms (i.e., perceptions of what most people are doing) that are strongly correlated with behavior.
Nudge: A modification of the way choices are presented (choice architecture) that influences behavior by such means as removing external barriers, expediting access, or altering the structure of the environment. In the context of food waste, a nudge might, for example, shift perception of the quantity of food (e.g., changing plate sizes); shift the appeal or quality of food (e.g., increasing the appeal of healthy foods); or make a behavior easier (e.g., offering healthy food in a cafeteria at the beginning of the line). Nudges may involve relatively small amounts of economic value—those that do not substantially change one’s economic position or power, but that may cue a feeling of loss or gain that is disproportionate to the actual loss or gain experienced. Economic incentives, by contrast, are explicitly intended to shape behavior by changing one’s economic position or power in consequential ways.
Opportunity (to prevent food waste): The availability and accessibility of materials and resources required to prevent food waste. Relevant aspects of opportunity are time and schedule, material and technologies, and economic and other contextual factors, material and technologies, policy, and infrastructure (Van Geffen et al., 2016).
Personal value: Internalized cognitive structures that guide choices by evoking a sense of basic principles of right and wrong, a sense of priorities, and a willingness to make meaning and see patterns (Oyserman, 2015).
Practices: Practices are broadly recognizable activities or groups of behaviors such as throwing out food, cooking food, wasting food, or shopping for food. Behavior focuses on the individual; practices focus on the activities and the groups of behaviors (Lee and Soma, 2016).
Priming: The exposure to one stimulus—such as words or a smell—influences a response to a subsequent stimulus. Unconsciously processed cues (primes) can lead to goal-directed cognition and behavior (Koop et al., 2019).
Proenvironmental identity: The extent to which people indicate that environmentalism is a central part of who they are.
Punishment: Linking a behavior to any consequence that decreases the behavior’s rate, frequency or probability. Punishment needs to be tailored to the individual, group, or organization, to follow the behavior in time, and to be seen as a consequence of the behavior. Punishment should be avoided because of negative side effects. If used, emphasis should be on positive reinforcement.
Regulations: A rule or directive made and maintained by an authority.
Self-efficacy: A person’s estimate or personal judgment of his or her own ability to succeed in reaching a specific goal, for example, quitting smoking or losing weight, or a more general goal, for example, continuing to remain at a prescribed weight level.
Skills: A subset of ability that reflects the use of one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance. For example, a person needs the skills to integrate knowledge about preventing food waste into their daily life and into their current food management behaviors.
Social comparisons: A type of intervention that provides a comparative reference with respect to the behaviors of others, such as neighbors, colleagues/friends or fellow citizens, based on principles of social influence and social comparison. These principles explain how individuals evaluate their own opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others in order to reduce uncertainty in these domains, and learn how to define the self.
Social marketing: The adaptation of commercial marketing technologies to programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences to improve their personal welfare and that of the society of which they are a part (Andreasen, 1994).
Social modeling: Learning that occurs by observing others’ behavior, also known as social learning. This behavior forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions, this coded information serves as a guide for action (Bandura, 1962).
Societal values: Norms, priorities, and guidelines, which describe what people ought to do if they are to do the “right,” “moral,” “valued” thing, specifically as held by a group or community; scripts or cultural ideals held in common by members of a group; the group’s “social mind.” (Oyserman, 2015).
Strategy: In general, a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim. In behavioral science, strategies are combined into a specific intervention to produce behavior changes among individuals or an entire population.
Andreasen, A.R. 1994. Social marketing: Its definition and domain. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 13(1):108-114.
Bandura, A. 1962. Social leaning through imitation. In Nebraska symposium on motivation, edited by M.R. Jones. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Pp. 211-272.
Bonaccio, S., and R.S. Dalal. 2006. Advice taking and decision-making: An integrative literature review, and implications for the organizational sciences. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 101(2):127-151.
Cialdini, R.B., C.A. Kallgren, and R.R. Reno. 1991. A focus theory of normative conduct: A theoretical refinement and reevaluation of the role of norms in human behavior. In Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol. 24, edited by M.P. Zanna. Academic Press. Pp. 201-234.
Delmas, M.A., M. Fischlein, and O.I. Asensio. 2013. Information strategies and energy conservation behavior: A meta-analysis of experimental studies from 1975 to 2012. Energy Policy 61:729-739.
Johnson, D., E. Horton, R. Mulcahy, and M. Foth. 2017. Gamification and serious games within the domain of domestic energy consumption: A systematic review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 73:249-264.
Khan, U., and R. Dhar. 2006. Licensing effect in consumer choice. Journal of Marketing Research 43(2):259-266.
Koop, S.H.A., A.J. Van Dorssen, and S. Brouwer. 2019. Enhancing domestic water conservation behaviour: A review of empirical studies on influencing tactics. Journal of Environmental Management 247:867-876.
Lee, K., and T. Soma. 2016. From “farm to table” to “farm to dump”: Emerging research on urban household food waste in the global south. In Conversations in food studies, edited by C.R. Anderson, J. Brady and C.Z. Levkoe. Winnipeg, Manitoba: University of Manitoba Press.
Mazar, A., and W. Wood. 2018. Defining habit in psychology. In The psychology of habit: Theory, mechanisms, change, and contexts, edited by B. Verplanken. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Pp. 13-29.
Nisa, C.F., J.J. Belanger, B.M. Schumpe, and D.G. Faller. 2019. Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials testing behavioural interventions to promote household action on climate change. Nature Communications 10(1):4545.
Oyserman, D. 2015. Values, psychology of. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences 25:36-40.
Roof, K., and N. Oleru. 2008. Public health: Seattle and King County’s push for the built environment. Journal of Environmental Health 71(1):24-27.
Van Geffen, L.E.J., E. van Herpen, and J.C.M. van Trijp. 2016. Causes & determinants of consumers food waste. Refresh deliverable 1.1. Available: https://eu-refresh.org/causes-determinants-consumers-food-waste.
Winter, P.L., B.J. Sagarin, K. Rhoads, D.W. Barrett, and R.B. Cialdini. 2000. Choosing to encourage or discourage: Perceived effectiveness of prescriptive versus proscriptive messages. Environmental Management 26(6):589-594.