Consumer-Related Food Waste: Causes and Potential for Action

J. Aschemann-Witzel, I.E. de Hooge, P. Amani, T. Bech-Larsen, M. Oostindjer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

334 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade, food waste has received increased attention on both academic and societal levels. As a cause of negative economic, environmental and social effects, food waste is considered to be one of the sustainability issues that needs to be addressed. In developed countries, consumers are one of the biggest sources of food waste. To successfully reduce consumer-related food waste, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of the factors influencing food waste-related consumer perceptions and behaviors. The present paper presents the results of a literature review and expert interviews on factors causing consumer-related food waste in households and supply chains. Results show that consumers’ motivation to avoid food waste, their management skills of food provisioning and food handling and their trade-offs between priorities have an extensive influence on their food waste behaviors. We identify actions that governments, societal stakeholders and retailers can undertake to reduce consumer-related food waste, highlighting that synergistic actions between all parties are most promising. Further research should focus on exploring specific food waste contexts and interactions more in-depth. Experiments and interventions in particular can contribute to a shift from analysis to solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6457-6477
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • climate-change
  • behavior
  • consumption
  • households
  • separation
  • emissions
  • knowledge
  • attitude
  • impacts
  • system


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