Fresh, frozen, or ambient food equivalents and their impact on food waste generation in Dutch households

Anke M. Janssen*, Mariska Nijenhuis, Eric P.J. Boer, Stefanie Kremer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In Europe, it is estimated that more than 50% of total food waste - of which most is avoidable - is generated at household level. Little attention has been paid to the impact on food waste generation of consuming food products that differ in their method of food preservation. This exploratory study surveyed product-specific possible impacts of different methods of food preservation on food waste generation in Dutch households. To this end, a food waste index was calculated to enable relative comparisons of the amounts of food waste from the same type of foods with different preservation methods on an annual basis. The results show that, for the majority of frozen food equivalents, smaller amounts were wasted compared to their fresh or ambient equivalents. The waste index (WI) proposed in the current paper confirms the hypothesis that it may be possible to reduce the amount of food waste at household level by encouraging Dutch consumers to use (certain) foods more frequently in a frozen form (instead of fresh or ambient). However, before this approach can be scaled to population level, a more detailed understanding of the underlying behavioural causes with regard to food provisioning and handling and possible interactions is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-307
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Food disposal
  • Food preservation
  • Freezer
  • Meal planning
  • Product-specific
  • Waste index

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