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Reducing Household Food Waste: Drivers and Interventions

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Waste and Recycling".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 August 2024 | Viewed by 1205

Special Issue Editor

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Guest Editor
Business School, Leeds University, Leeds, UK
Interests: decision making; risk (benefit); food consumption; food waste

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Household food waste is an environmentally, socially, and economically urgent problem increasing greenhouse gas production, food insecurity, and food price inflation. In developed countries, it contributes to food waste more than the other stakeholders in the food chain. Research on the determinants of household food waste suggest various drivers that are interrelated and competing. Some of these drivers include attitudes, social norms, motivations, and socio-demographics. There are also food management behaviours, also called levers of behaviour change, that include planning, shopping, storing, cooking and leftover reusing. In the literature, the drivers and levers of food waste have been identified by applying different frameworks such as Theory of Planned Behaviour and Motivation Opportunity Ability Model. The drivers and levers are employed to design behaviour change interventions. Some of the interventions for behaviour change are awareness raising campaigns, nudging, and training and knowledge enhancement activities. However, the effectiveness of most of these interventions is not evidence-based. In conclusion, to reduce household food waste, it is vital to determine significant drivers and levers of change and design effective interventions.

Hence, this Special Issue encourages submissions about the promising drivers, food management behaviours and behaviour change interventions that would benefit the research community, businesses, and practitioner organisations. In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Drivers of household food waste such as attitudes, emotions, social norms, perceived control, and socio-demographics. Submissions on the role of goals and values in reducing food waste and novel drivers are particularly encouraged.
  • Levers of food waste management behaviours such as planning, shopping, storing, cooking and leftover reusing.
  • Theoretical frameworks that are employed to identify levers and drivers.
  • Behaviour change interventions such as prompts and tools for households, coaching for households, local awareness campaigns, national awareness campaigns.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Gülbanu Kaptan
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • food waste
  • consumer
  • household
  • behaviour change
  • food management behaviours
  • drivers of food waste

Published Papers (1 paper)

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31 pages, 876 KiB  
Systematic Review
A Systematic Review of Pre-Post Studies Testing Behaviour Change Interventions to Reduce Consumer Food Waste in the Household
by Danica Jobson, Gamithri Gayana Karunasena, Nazia Nabi, David Pearson and Emily Dunstan
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 1963; - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1007
Since the United Nations announced their Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve per capita food waste by 2030, prevention has become an international focus. Consumers are responsible for a significant portion of food waste, and much of this waste is avoidable by improving [...] Read more.
Since the United Nations announced their Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve per capita food waste by 2030, prevention has become an international focus. Consumers are responsible for a significant portion of food waste, and much of this waste is avoidable by improving food management routines and planning in the household. There is a growing body of research focused on developing and evaluating domestic behaviour change interventions which can improve these behaviours. However, evidence of intervention efficacy on a household level is inconsistent, and best-practice approaches for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners have not been identified. Furthermore, the magnitude of this problem across environmental, social, and economical aspects of life necessitates meaningful long-term change. Many reviews have synthesised household food waste intervention studies, yet there is a gap exploring whether new habits can or will stick. We identify 16 peer-reviewed articles applying behaviour change interventions in the household, with a pre–post design to measure food waste both before and after implementation. The review reveals a paucity of studies that evaluate intervention efficacy relative to their baseline, as well as a significant longitudinal evidence gap. Our recommendation for further research is for the robust replication of effective short-term interventions to be tested longitudinally. Overall, this review outlines potential areas for prioritisation to enable large-scale sustained household behaviour changes in the fight against food waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reducing Household Food Waste: Drivers and Interventions)
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