Reasons of food waste

Factors contributing to food waste by consumers

  • Insufficient shopping and meal planning
  • Shopping environment (e.g. promotions like “buy one, get one free” that may lead to impulse buying and over-purchase)
  • Misunderstandings about the meaning of “best before” and “use by” date labels leading to edible foods being thrown away
  • Insufficient food management skills (e.g. meal preparation, use of food/food ingredients in-stock, use of leftovers)
  • Packaging difficult to empty or too large
  • Aesthetic considerations (bruised fruit and vegetables etc.)
  • Standardised portion sizes in restaurants and canteens
  • Difficulty in anticipating the number of customers (a problem for catering services)
  • Stock management issues for manufacturers and retailers
  • High quality standards (e.g. for produce sold at retail)
  • Overproduction or lack of demand for certain products at certain times of the year
  • Production errors, products and/or labelling not meeting specifications
  • Product and packaging damage (farmers and food manufacturing)
  • Inadequate storage/transport at all stages of the food chain including households (e.g. refrigerator temperatures)
  • Lack of knowledge and/or misinformation on the environmental, social and financial impacts of food waste
  • Low perceived value of food
  • Busy lifestyle and conflicting priorities