A validated survey to measure household food waste

Erica van Herpen*, Lisanne van Geffen, Mariska Nijenhuis-de Vries, Nancy Holthuysen, Ivo van der Lans, Tom Quested

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


To assess household food waste in large-scale studies with the aim to understand differences in food waste levels between households, surveys are often employed. Yet, survey measures rely on people's awareness of their own food waste levels, draw upon their memory of instances of food waste, and can be subject to social desirability. Therefore, existing survey measures may not be optimal in measuring household food waste. The Household Food Waste Questionnaire has been developed to ameliorate these issues. It uses a pre-announcement to increase awareness of food waste, focuses on a short and specific time period (i.e. the past week), and specifies detailed product categories, whereas previous surveys mostly used general questions without reference to time period or product category. The amount of household food waste estimated using the Household Food Waste Questionnaire is likely to considerably underestimate the actual amount, so the method should not be used to obtain accurate waste amounts, but rather to distinguish differences between households and/or across time. Advantages compared to existing survey methods are that it: • Distinguishes better between households with low versus high levels of food waste • Correlates more highly with other measurements of household food waste (diary, kitchen caddy, photograph coding)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2767-2775
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019


  • Consumer
  • Food waste
  • Household food waste questionnaire
  • Measurement
  • Questionnaire

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  • Projects

    REFRESH: Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain


    Project: EU research project

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