Avoiding food waste by Italian consumers: related beliefs, attitudes, behaviour and the importance of planning and shopping routines

Over the last decades, food waste has generated an immense amounts across the food life cycle, determining serious environmental, social and economic issues. Reducing the amount of food waste is a key element in developing a sustainable food system.The purpose of this study is to investigate the correlation between food waste and belief, attitudes and behaviours at the household level so exploring its possible drivers among Italian consumers: how people could reduce or avoid the amount of food waste is the main step for addressing the consumer behaviour and for planning shopping routines. In effect avoidable food waste represents the majority of food waste generated at the household level. The disposal of food is the final step in the food provisioning process (Munro, 1995) entailing a series of food-related behaviours from purchasing food to preparing and eating it (Jensen et al., 2012). The Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen,1991) helps to understanding how the people actions can be modified linking beliefs and behaviour; this theory is our starting point to predict household decisions in order to avoid, to minimize or to recycle waste (Biswa et al., 2000; Knussen et al., 2004) as well as to improve food-related behaviours (Conner & Armitage, 2002). To this end, an on-line survey was carried out via social networks and e-mail. A focus group and a pilot test with 12 Italian consumers were conducted to support the questionnaire design. 256 were respondents. Results are in line with the studies on this research topics. The current study focuses on Italian consumers, but the basic concepts in our framework should be replicable and so applicable to any society. The policy implications are related to the crucial importance that new models to address behaviour consumer have to be identified in order to change eating habits and attitudes.

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JEL Codes:
Q10; Q18; D12
This is a working draft. Please do not cite without permission of the author.

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-30

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