Less waste versus higher quality: how to stimulate consumer demand for frozen bread

Erica Van Herpen*, Koen Jaegers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Bread waste is one of the largest contributors to the environmental footprint of supermarkets, mostly because of the short shelf life of fresh bread. This study examined a possible solution: offering frozen bread with a considerably longer shelf life. Professional freezing of bread can preserve its quality better than freezing at home. In introducing frozen bread, supermarkets can communicate either a high construal social benefit (food waste reduction) or a low construal personal benefit (product quality).
Design/methodology/approach: An online experiment (n = 367) with a three group between subjects design was used. Dutch participants saw an offering of frozen bread accompanied by (1) a communication message about food waste, (2) a communication message about product quality, or (3) no communication message (control condition).
Findings: In line with expectations, emphasizing food waste reduction influenced general attitudes toward frozen bread and the bakery department more strongly than the benefit of higher product quality, while the opposite was true for purchase intentions.
Practical implications: Retailers who include frozen bread in their assortment have to make a trade-off between especially stimulating consumer attitudes toward the bakery department by focusing on a food waste reduction message, or especially stimulating sales by focusing on a quality message.
Originality/value: This study provides new insights into the effects of benefit communication on attitudes and purchase intentions. The results show that these effects differ for attitudes and intentions, depending on the communication message.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-358
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2022


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