Food waste impacts the environment and the financial gains of foodservice establishments. Reducing it entails targeting the customers, as plate waste is the primary source of waste in these outlets. However, little is known about why some customers are more prone to not finishing their food. Furthermore, many of the measures proposed to curb plate waste can potentially generate a negative customer experience, yet no work has tried to ascertain whether diners actually disapprove of them. To investigate these issues, we surveyed 1,131 consumers in Italy. We tested the association between socio-demographic and attitudinal features and self-reported plate waste. We also measured their support for six contentious strategies for reducing food waste. Our results show that women, those who dine out more often, and those that are less aware of the social/environmental consequences of food waste tend to leave their plate unfinished more frequently. Additionally, although customers approve of doggy bags, information dissemination through awareness campaigns, and sales in last minute markets, they are resistant to portion size reduction without a corresponding price reduction, unsolicited advice on the quantity of food ordered, and limits on the number of options in the menu. Finally, support for the measures correlated strongly with awareness, and women complained significantly more about oversized portions. In addition to profiling out-of-home wasters and revealing which strategies do not affect customer experience, these results suggest the existence of a gender bias in portion size definition and underline how awareness campaigns can indirectly lead to reductions in food waste.

Plate waste in foodservice outlets: Revealing customer profiles and their support for potentially contentious measures to reduce it in Italy

Vizzoto F.;Tessitore S.;Testa F.;Iraldo F.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Food waste impacts the environment and the financial gains of foodservice establishments. Reducing it entails targeting the customers, as plate waste is the primary source of waste in these outlets. However, little is known about why some customers are more prone to not finishing their food. Furthermore, many of the measures proposed to curb plate waste can potentially generate a negative customer experience, yet no work has tried to ascertain whether diners actually disapprove of them. To investigate these issues, we surveyed 1,131 consumers in Italy. We tested the association between socio-demographic and attitudinal features and self-reported plate waste. We also measured their support for six contentious strategies for reducing food waste. Our results show that women, those who dine out more often, and those that are less aware of the social/environmental consequences of food waste tend to leave their plate unfinished more frequently. Additionally, although customers approve of doggy bags, information dissemination through awareness campaigns, and sales in last minute markets, they are resistant to portion size reduction without a corresponding price reduction, unsolicited advice on the quantity of food ordered, and limits on the number of options in the menu. Finally, support for the measures correlated strongly with awareness, and women complained significantly more about oversized portions. In addition to profiling out-of-home wasters and revealing which strategies do not affect customer experience, these results suggest the existence of a gender bias in portion size definition and underline how awareness campaigns can indirectly lead to reductions in food waste.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11382/544563
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