A social perspective on food waste: To what extent consumers are aware of their own food waste?

R Díaz-Ruiz, M Costa-Font, JM Gil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The proliferation of food waste (FW) worldwide at every stage of the food chain exerts various environmental, social and economic consequences. Importantly, the existing literature suggests that most waste is generated in the last stage of the chain, namely food consumption, hence it is crucial to understand how such behaviour is engendered. Consumers’ FW behaviour has been related with their attitudes, values, knowledge and behaviour towards food, planning and shopping routines, lifestyle and consumption habits in general and recycling or green behaviour. Based on the state of the art, the general aim of the present paper is to go one step forwards in reaching a better understanding of consumer behaviour in relation to food waste generation. This paper sets out a perceived food waste generation indicators using three groups of questions that confronts respondents with: (1) knowledge about food waste, subjective and objective one; (2) awareness of the problem; and (3) behaviour of food waste generated. In the present case-study, it has been noticed that citizens are not aware about their own FW generation. It is also important to highlight that respondents do have a biased perception as regards to which agents of the food chain are more responsible of overall FW generation. That is, they consider that agriculture and retailers are the main FW generators, while the literature demonstrates the opposite. Despite the lack of awareness, respondents do consider that to waste food is a problem that arouses interest and concern mainly for ethical and economic reasons. Finally, it has been noticed that consumers are confused about FW reduction strategies named recycling and prevention. The present work analyse household FW behaviour in the Barcelona metropolitan area, by means of taking into consideration citizen’s opinion. The study employs face to face and online interviews conducted during June-July 2013 in Barcelona to a sample of 220 individuals responsible on their household food purchase.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvisioning a future without food waste and food poverty
Subtitle of host publicationSocietal challenges
EditorsLE San-Epifanio, M De Ronables Scheifler
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-820-9
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-275-7
Publication statusPrint publication - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'A social perspective on food waste: To what extent consumers are aware of their own food waste?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this