Food waste involves three key problems, which includes food disposal, greenhouse gas emissions, and food security. It is an important issue to research and evaluate since huge volumes of food are wasted by the consumers in their households. For instance, EU (2021) presents that per year, 88 million tons of food waste are generated in Europe, which can be associated to about 143 billion euros. It is a key problem, as many people in the world cannot afford a quality meal. In 2019, EU (2021) reported that 931 million tons of food produced were wasted in the world, and 61% of this wastage were from households, 26% were from the supply chain, and 13% were from retailers. Food wastage is also ethical and economical problem due to the consequences it has on the environment.
Introduction and Background
Food waste is a contemporary ecological, social, and moral issue. Utilizing a larger number of resources than the conveying limit permits jeopardizes the economic situation in the world. The major problems of environmental change, food security, and financial improvement cause food waste to arise (EU, 2021). Notwithstanding food that is uneaten in homes and stores, this incorporates crops left in the field, food that becomes spoiled due to transportation problems, and any remaining food that does not come to a store. Some parts of food are lost at practically every phase of food production. Food waste is characterized as “food disposed of by retailers because of shading or appearance and plate waste by buyers” (Hebrok & Boks, 2017). It incorporates the half-eaten meals left on the plates at the restaurants or food scraps from setting up a dinner at homes among others. Consequently, food wastage has been related to households more than retailers and supply chain process, which is presented in the case below.
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Literature Review on Food Waste
Food wastage is a problem that occurs at all levels of production due to consumer behavior. Given the high level of food waste, it would be challenging to meet the demand for food and natural resources in the world in a near future. A significant test that faces the worldwide local area is to give safe food to over 9.1 billion individuals continuously till 2050 (Abdelradi, 2017). However, one variable that is generally disregarded while trying to reach this goal is the food waste (Abdelradi, 2017). The studies show that all around the world, 40% of food are wasted (BCC, 2019). The United States alone is responsible for food wastage of 63 million tons each year (BCC, 2019). The consumers are the main individuals that waste food in the country, where the numbers reported show a disturbing problem that has been ignored for long.
Food wastage is a morally wrong problem since globally, many people are dying of starvation or remain malnourished. The countries and people with more than enough food are the ones that have high levels of food wastage. Food supply works using a globalized supply system, so the demand is expected to outdo the resources available, leading to a problem of hunger around the world. The consumers are the main responsible suspects of food wastage, as they buy more products than they can consume, and the food becomes spoiled and thrown away (Hebrok & Boks, 2017). Consequently, there is a high probability that if that food been was left in the stores, several people would have purchased it according to their needs, hence eliminating the process of spoiling and food waste consequently.
Food waste can be related to consumer purchasing and consumption behavior. However, unless food waste is managed efficiently, hunger would become a problem for the world in the future. It is easily achieved through theory of planned behavior, which is a theoretical process of understanding behaviors of consumers and markets. The framework stipulates that the behavior of certain consumers can be used to make actionable plans for better outcomes (Aktas et al., 2018). With regards to food waste, the theory of planned behavior has been broadly utilized as a hypothetical point to clarify purchaser behavior.
Food waste division behavior at home can be clarified utilizing the theory of planned behavior and situational factors. Essentially, family food wastage decreases when utilizing a lengthy theory of planned behavior. It can be done by working on mentality, emotional standard, and perceived behavior management. The theory of planned behavior sets a solid reason for clarifying food waste behaviors related to the consumers.
The theory of planned behavior method was applied in the case study. It is used as a theoretical framework that explains the behavior of consumers regarding their activities on food waste. The theory of planned behavior method includes the consumer behaviors regarding wastage in relation to personal attitudes, norms, intentions, and perceived behavioral control. That is, the literature above provides evidence that food waste is commonly associated with the consumers’ attitudes and other behaviors towards financial gain, food surplus and availability, food choice, food purchase motives, and many other ways of conduct that determine the purchasing and consumption behaviors of consumers.
Purposive sampling was also conducted, and the existing case studies on food waste related to consumers were analyzed. The purposive sampling presented ways how food wastage from a supplier-retailer perspective occurs and how the consumer behaviors can be managed to decrease the food waste. Two main case studies were used as samples for the report. Cronje et al. (2018) present that food waste happens due to consumer and household behaviors as well as availability of surplus among households, which is a consequence of poor planning on meals and buying. BCC (2019) suggests that many people experience food insecurity despite some homes and consumers engaging in daily food waste.
A qualitative study was also conducted, and the investigation was performed using Google Scholar database. The results were filtered to recent articles to help understand what the current situation of food waste is, and the work was limited to peer-reviewed articles only. The articles available are extensive on the problem of food waste and the role of every individual in curbing the problem.
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Discussion and Results
Food waste among consumers and households has been associated with many factors, including food choice motives as well as financial attitudes. Such aspect influences food waste, as they affect the planning routines for purchasing food and many other factors. Proper planning can push the reduction of food wastage since the consumers would purchase what they want and need, what they can consume, and make effective financial decisions. Food wastage has also been linked to the social relationships that people have since when consumers spend time with friends, it easily results in food surplus that ends in waste (Tonini et al., 2018). In this way, planning can help reduce such food waste. However, this can be managed by engaging in charity activities when one encounters a food surplus process, which effectively presents the application of the theory of planned behavior method. BCC (2019) suggests that food recovery hierarchy should be adopted by consumers and other supply chains in the food network to reduce food waste.
The studies report a critical variety in the assessments of retail food waste. The varieties can be somewhat clarified by the various food waste definitions and strategies. In this case, food loss is characterized as estimated by retailers, namely being the unsold food items. On the other hand, “food waste,” being characterized as waste occurring at the last buyer level, and “food losses” (happening ahead of time in the production network) are considered food waste. The most well-known technique to assess food waste is utilizing retailer information about the unsold food, such as the food that is removed from stock. Food wastage is depicted utilizing three distinct components. Such reasonable system indicates that food waste is an immediate aftereffect of creation of the utilization frameworks (Pocas et al., 2019). Next, the structure evaluates the various kinds of impacts on the utilization frameworks. Finally, the structure features the organization of different logical elements acting at various levels/scales, thus having effects of the food waste.
An experiment was carried out by different authors in different places around the world and showed that food waste is highly related to consumers/ household behaviors. For instance, according to Cronje et al. (2018), it was discovered that many households had excess of food prepared daily, while the food remaining is always discarded. Most of the households are also not bothered by throwing away food, as it happens naturally when food remains, or there is a surplus. In a weekly basis, the food thrown away was more than 50% (Tonini et al., 2018). Fruits were the main food products wasted and discarded without any consideration, which can be highly linked to the consumer behavior of overbuying the products. Management of food waste can be achieved by engaging in a management process of the entire food supply chain despite consumers and households been the larger group responsible for food waste around the globe.
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One of the main factors cited that lead to increase food waste is the issue of overbuying, which leads to surplus in cooking and availability of more food everyday for discarding. It can be solved by many households learning and changing attitudes on consumption of left-over foods. It can also be solved by engaging in a planning process that ensures one does not overbuy or cook surpluses for their families (Cronje et al., 2018). In this way, these methods would help in reducing the availability of many food products to be wasted. Attitude and behavior are key factors that influence the availability of food waste in households. Sustainable food security in the world is highly important to reduce food waste since it could help decrease the insecurity in terms of food in the world. At this level, a food recovery plan in different communities could be used to help manage food waste (BCC, 2019). However, the global food system is complex and could result to challenges in handling food waste around the world.
Conclusion and Recommendations
All in all, the research shows that food waste in households is related to practices and knowledge that influence attitudes and awareness that affect purchasing decisions. Food-related decisions should be planned for effective usage of food and management/ reduction of food waste. Food waste could be linked to poor planning of weekly meals, which constantly leads to surplus overbuying of products and cooking. Consequently, much was available for discarding. Household food wastage is varying depending on country, household income, and other factors that affect the communities and households. The consumer initiatives to handle food waste should be introduced constantly across the globe.
It is recommended that every household/ consumer plays a personal role in reducing food waste since it affects the environment and climate change conditions, given the greenhouse gases used to produce the products. Food waste also affects the social and economic conditions of countries. Food surplus plays a major role in increasing food waste among households; hence, the surplus should be managed. The detailed research is needed to understand this issue since it is very complex, and more clarifications are needed.