Suboptimal food? Food waste at the consumer-retailer interface

Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, I.E. de Hooge, V.L. Almli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Food waste at the consumer level is caused by the consumer–related factors of motivation, trade-offs, and capability, as well as by the context-related factors of social influence, purchase context, and the macroenvironment. A large share of food waste is avoidable, and it is often due to suboptimal food. Suboptimal food is food that consumers perceive as of lesser value than other items of the same kind. This is in particular related to foods nearing the indicated date, foods deviating in appearance or foods showing packaging damage. The assessment of suboptimality by the consumer can occur both at the point of purchase in the store and the point of consumption at home. Consumers assess foods with regard to both the characteristic of the food and the purpose of use, and consider the value of the item versus the money they have to pay or the effort to obtain and use the item. Consumers’ behavior towards suboptimal food influences the supermarket and supply chain actions upstream, leading to food wasted due to the anticipated consumer reaction. However, the supply chain has also a crucial role and responsibility for consumer’s expectations, perceptions, and the food waste caused at the consumer–retailer interface. Research on retailer actions and consumer perceptions is discussed to highlight the issue and the research findings and recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSaving food: Production, supply chain, food waste, and food consumption
EditorsC.M. Galanakis
ISBN (Print)9780128153574
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Suboptimal food
  • consumer perception
  • retailer
  • food quality
  • appearance
  • date label
  • packaging
  • value
  • purchase
  • communication


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