Lebensmittelabfälle in privaten Haushalten in Deutschland – Analyse der Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Erhebung 2016/2017 von GfK SE –

On behalf of the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the GfK SE market research company systematically studied the food waste in German private households from July 2016 to June 2017. The study was a representative diary study. Almost 7,000 households were surveyed over a period of two weeks each on their dealings with food waste (FW). The focus of the study was on types and amounts of avoidable and unavoidable food waste. Documented were reasons for disposal, condition of food products and means of elimination. Further differentiation was made on the basis of household size, age of the head of household and his/her education level, and regional location. Essentially this study offers much new information on dealing with food waste in private households in Germany, and is a good basis for the development of new political options to reduce food waste. Particularly information on the type and composition of food waste is revealing. For example, the study found that 16 % of the avoidable FW is “cooked or prepared” (with a very high energy input). In part however other reasons for disposal are confirmed, and classified according to their relevance for the purposes of this study. One example is the food expiration date: only 5.8 percent of those surveyed refer to this as a reason for disposal, while ten times this number - overall 57.6 % - through food away due to storage problems, and one third of these foodstuffs were already spoiled. In interpreting the results, it must particularly be considered that transfer effects can veil the true reasons for disposal of food products. For example, sub-optimal shopping behavior can lead to problems in storage. Can the most important reasons for disposal be counteracted with better planning and need-appropriate purchases, and the correct storage and processing of food products? These changes would, above all, require a greater time input on the part of the consumer, which could seem too time-intensive for many consumers. The assessed level of the total amount of food waste in Germany is projected to be a scant 4.4 million tons annually. This can be considered the bottom threshold, because some diary entries can be considered incomplete. About 44 % of this food waste is considered avoidable by the surveyed households. Thus a theoretical improvement potential can be seen, which, with the help of additionally gathered detailed information, can be addressed with a targeted approach.

Issue Date:
Apr 24 2018
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
DOI: 10.3220/WP1523264518000
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 Record created 2018-04-24, last modified 2020-10-28

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