Economics of Food Waste
Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 10:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Swissotel Chicago, Montreux 1
- Chair: Metin Cakir, University of Minnesota
Evaluation of a Food Waste Reduction Campaign in a University Dining Hall
AbstractThe foodservice industry generates food waste in the kitchen as well as anything leftover on consumers’ plates. While software programs have been developed to optimize inventory management and meal planning (and thus, reduce food waste) in the kitchen, fewer efforts have targeted plate waste. In all-you-can-eat dining settings, such as university dining halls or other buffet-style restaurants, concerns over food waste are even higher as there are no monetary incentives to take less food. In addition, university dining facilities primarily serve young consumers (ages 18-24) who tend to be more wasteful than the average adult, further increasing the likelihood of plate waste in these settings. Appeals to money-saving have been identified as the best motivator to reduce consumer food waste generally; however, alternative motivators will likely be needed when the quantity of food and its associated cost are not directly linked. Thus, the purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of a student-centered food waste reduction campaign in a university dining hall setting. The campaign will focus on alternative (non-price) messages to encourage less wasteful behaviors. Consumer plate waste will be collected, sorted, and weighed in a treatment and a control dining hall over the course of a year to assess the impact of the campaign on both the quantity and quality of food waste and to determine whether the impact persists over time.
Foodservice Composting Crowds Out Consumer Food Waste Reduction Behavior in a Dining Experiment
AbstractPressure mounts to address food waste, which deprives hungry people of needed nutrition, depletes resources used to produce food, and accounts for substantial greenhouse gas emissions during production, distribution and disposal. Composting, and other food waste recycling technologies that divert food waste from landfills, mitigate the environmental damages of food waste disposal and grow in popularity. We explore whether consumer knowledge that the environmental damage created by their food waste will be mitigated undermines personal food waste reduction behavior. Subjects in a dining situation are randomly assigned whether or not they receive information about the negative effects of landfilling food waste and whether they are told that uneaten food from the study will be composted or landfilled. We find that providing information about the negative effects of food waste in landfills significantly reduces both the propensity to create any food waste and the total amount of solid food waste created when compared to control subjects. However, if subjects are also informed that food waste from the study will be composted, the propensity to create food waste and the amount of solid food waste generated is similar to control situation which features neither a reduction nor a recycling policy. This suggests a crowding out effect or informational rebound effect in which promoting policies that mitigate the environmental damages of food waste may unintentionally undermine policies meant to encourage individual consumer food waste reduction. We discuss key policy implications as well as several limitations of our experimental setting and analysis.
USDA Economic Research Service
- Q0 - General