Motivating household food waste reduction: harnessing the power of message context and framing

T Begho*, Ningxin Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Household food waste is a major contributor to the total food waste from all sectors globally. Food waste undermines sustainability and reduces the resilience of food systems. The current food waste statistics, especially in high-income economies, indicate a need to rethink how households can be motivated to reduce food waste. Generally, persuasive messages can be used to create positive behaviour change. But there is yet to be explored potential to influence food waste behaviour using messages. Thus, this paper employs behavioural insights to assess the effectiveness of message domains, contexts and composition in encouraging households to reduce food waste. We find that message domains and composition influences the intent to reduce food waste. The odds of motivating food waste reduction are higher using the loss domain framed messages with financial outcomes, and the gain domain framed messages with environmental outcomes. Also, composite messages are more likely to encourage household food waste recycling behaviour. The paper shows that improving behavioural change messages in terms of message appropriateness and clarity is pivotal to implementing an effective instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalFood Frontiers
Early online date7 Dec 2022
Publication statusFirst published - 7 Dec 2022


  • Behavioural Insights
  • Framing
  • Food waste
  • Food management habits
  • Nudging


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