Food waste related behaviours of Dutch consumers during Covid-19

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Introduction: Reducing the world’s food loss and waste with 50% by 2030 is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The period of Covid-19 provoked rapid behavioural changes, also in the area of handling food. The aim of this study was to investigate how Covid-19 influenced Dutch consumers’ behaviour related to shopping, storing, preparing and discarding food in their household. Methods: A survey was developed based on the REFRESH framework on food waste drivers within households using the Motivation-Ability-Opportunity model. A representative sample of 1500 Dutch households completed the survey early May 2020. Results: Thirty-eight percent of the respondents reduced their shopping frequency (p<0.001), with 10-20% started using different outlets (online, local shops, farm shops, markets, take-away). About 20% bought more preserved vegetables, fresh fruit, pasta and noodles, and pre-baked bread, but less ready-to-eat meals. A quarter of the respondents (26%) indicated to waste less food in their households, with fresh vegetables, fresh fruit and meal leftovers being the main food groups (p<0.001). Consumers indicated to plan more often what they buy before doing groceries, buy less impulsive in the store (p<0.001); whereas 26% uses a shopping list more frequently. Over 40% indicated to eat at home more often, 28% to cook more often, 27% tries new recipes more frequently, and 21% spends more time on cooking per meal. Although 33% indicated to have more food in stock now, about 20% seems to know better what they have in stock, possibly by better organizing shelves and fridges (p<0.001). Overall awareness and the social norm related to food waste shifted in the positive direction for 20-25% of the respondents. Discussion: The Corona crisis seems to have led to beneficial changes in food-waste related behaviours among Dutch households. These insights may be helpful to guide future food waste reduction interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event9th European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Research - Online
Duration: 13 Dec 202016 Dec 2020


Conference9th European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Research

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