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In order to provide a basis for the reduction of food losses, our study analyzes individual food choice, eating and leftover behavior in a university cafeteria by consideration of personal, social and environmental determinants. Based on an extended literature review, a structural equation model is derived and empirically tested for a sample of 343 students. The empirical estimates support the derived model with a good overall model fit and sufficient R² values for dependent variables. Hence, our results provide evidence for a general significant impact of behavioral intention and related personal and social determinants as well as for the relevance of environmental/situational determinants such as portion sizes and palatability of food for plate leftovers. Moreover, we find that environmental and personal determinants are interrelated and that the impact of different determinants is relative to perceived time constraints during a visit of the university canteen. Accordingly, we conclude that simple measures to decrease avoidable food waste may take effects via complex behavioral structures and that future research should focus on these effects to understand and change food leftover behavior.


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