Moral judgments of food wasting predict food wasting behavior

Michal Misiak (Institute of Psychology, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland)
Daniel Kruger (Population Studies Center and Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)
Jessica Sloan Kruger (Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA)
Piotr Sorokowski (Institute of Psychology, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 13 May 2020

Issue publication date: 12 October 2020

Abstract

Purpose

People consider food wasting behavior to be immoral. However, it is not clear whether people who consider food wasting behavior immoral waste less food. Building on previous qualitative studies, we conducted a large-sample quantitative study. We examined whether people who consider food wasting behavior immoral display food wasting behaviors less frequently and whether they waste less food in general. Furthermore, we explored the reasons that make people consider food wasting behavior immoral and whether they affected food wasting.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants voluntarily (n = 562) completed a set of questionnaires that measured the frequency of their food wasting behavior, the amount of food wasted in the preceding week, and food wasting moral judgments, including scales, which explored the reasons for judging this behavior as immoral.

Findings

We found that people who regard food wasting behavior as immoral displayed food wasting behavior less frequently, but did not waste less food than people who did not consider food wasting behavior immoral. Furthermore, we found that there are two categories of reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior: externally oriented (concern for the environment, social issues, and for future generations) and internally oriented (concern for ones’ financial situation, social approval, and going by traditional norms). However, only people whose moral judgments were motivated by externally oriented reasons wasted food less frequently.

Originality/value

Our findings provide evidence that moral judgments influence food wasting behavior and highlight the importance of the content of moral beliefs for predicting behaviors.

Keywords

Citation

Misiak, M., Kruger, D., Kruger, J.S. and Sorokowski, P. (2020), "Moral judgments of food wasting predict food wasting behavior", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 11, pp. 3547-3565. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-07-2019-0576

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited


1. Introduction

1.1 Food waste, a global issue

Food waste has become a global problem (Buzby and Hyman, 2012; Gustavsson et al., 2011). It is estimated that roughly 30 per cent of food is lost in the production process or wasted in consumers’ households (Gustavsson et al., 2011). Food is lost along the whole supply chain, yet consumers are responsible for the most substantial portion of food waste in developed countries (Parfitt et al., 2010). Estimates of food losses and food wastage range from 158 to 298 kg per person in Europe and 194–389 kg per person per year globally (Corrado and Sala, 2018). In the European Union (EU-28), 53 per cent of all food waste is estimated to arise from households not utilizing the food (47 million tonnes of 87 million tonnes) (Stenmarck et al., 2016). The overall economic cost associated with food waste in Europe would amount to about 143 billion euros per year, with almost two-thirds of this cost due to waste at the household level. This high share of costs of food loss, compared to other sectors (e.g. production, retail), results from the high proportion of edible food being wasted and the costs accumulating along the supply chain (e.g. processing, packaging, and retailing costs) (Stenmarck et al., 2016). The extent of costs of wasting food at the household level suggests that actions aimed at reducing household food waste might be especially beneficial.

Food waste leads to food overproduction, exacerbating environmental issues due to the larger areas required for agriculture (Springmann et al., 2018). The expansion of agriculture to maintain the food supply contributes directly to deforestation and a decrease in biodiversity (Houghton, 2012). The overproduction of food also results in the waste and contamination of drinkable water (Chapagain and James, 2013). Furthermore, food waste is also a source of greenhouse gases, such as methane, which is even more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (Melikoglu et al., 2013). According to the World Economic Forum (2016), food crises are one of the most significant global risks in the future, and food wasting practices interfere with efforts to establish global food security.

1.2 Food wasting behavior

Food wasting behavior is associated with economic and demographic factors, like household income (Setti et al., 2016), gender (Visschers et al., 2016), and age (Quested et al., 2013). However, there is a growing body of psychological research tackling the problem of reducing food wasting behavior (Aitsidou et al., 2019; Farr-Wharton et al., 2014; Graham-Rowe et al., 2015; Kallbekken and Sælen, 2013; Porpino et al., 2016; Schanes et al., 2018; Stancu et al., 2016).

1.3 Food wasting moral judgments

Food wasting is linked to morality across cultures (e.g. Poland, Indonesia, Tanzania) (Misiak et al., 2018). Nonetheless, the majority of studies exploring attitudes toward food wasting behavior were conducted in industrialized countries (for a review of the studies on food wasting behavior in developing countries see: Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2018). Graham–Rowe et al. (2014) conducted their study in Great Britain and identified moral concerns as a motivation to reduce household food wasting behavior. They conducted semi-structured interviews among 15 household food purchasers and provided qualitative data on motivations to reduce household food waste. The first motivation was an economic one—people are motivated to reduce household food wasting behavior to save money. The second motivation was morality: people reduce household food wasting behavior because they feel that it is the “right thing to do.” When asked about their reasons to believe that wasting food is immoral, participants provided several reasons, e.g. respect for tradition, concern for the environment, and concern for future generations. However, it is not clear whether each of these reasons predicts moral judgments equally well.

Wasting food may induce guilt (Hamilton et al., 2005; Parizeau et al., 2015; Quested et al., 2013; WRAP, 2007). Although guilt is not exclusively linked to morality, it has been shown that it may serve as a self-regulatory emotion, which arises when one commits a moral transgression (Sheikh and Janoff-Bulman, 2010). Guilt motivates individuals to behave prosocially and to avoid moral transgressions (Malti, 2016). This phenomenon has been demonstrated by Stefan and colleagues (2013), who pointed out that guilt can predict intentions to waste less food. Qi and Roe (2016) suggest that generating guilt may lead to household food waste reduction by delineating a moral norm. Richter and Bokelmann (2018) demonstrated that people who regard wasting food as morally reprehensible do so because wasting food is a result of a bad conscience. Similarly to Qi and Roe (2016), they suggest addressing these consumer feelings through awareness campaigns.

Moral norms regarding food wasting behavior may vary among different populations. Misiak et al. (2018) demonstrated that traditional populations (i.e. pastoralists, horticulturalists), where food acquisition is more difficult and complicated than in western industrialized societies, may hold harsher moral norms toward food wasting behavior. They hypothesized that moral norms toward food wasting behavior might serve as a cultural adaptation to harsh environments, restricting people from wasting food. Still, it is poorly understood why people in industrialized populations, where it is easy to obtain food, consider food wasting behavior as immoral.

Psychological factors predict behavioral intentions (Ajzen, 1991). Although there is a gap between intentions and behavior, intention-behavior consistency holds value for practitioners and policymakers (Brentjens et al., 2019; Sheeran and Webb, 2016). Recently, it has been argued that it is necessary to take into account moral norms as predictors of intention (de Leeuw et al., 2015; Rivis et al., 2009). Incorporating moral norms may help minimize the intention-behavior gap (Godin et al., 2005). Recent studies on attitudes toward the environment have shown that moral norms significantly predict pro-environmental intentions, e.g. to recycle (Chan and Bishop, 2013), to switch to an electric/hybrid vehicle (Nordlund et al., 2016), to reduce air pollution (Ru et al., 2019), to donate for sustainable development (Pérez y Pérez and Egea, 2019), and to act conservatively (Kaiser, 2006). In conclusion, exploring the link between morality and food wasting behavior may help us to predict and affect the consumers’ food wasting behavior.

1.4 Current study

Although attitudes toward food wasting behavior are becoming a more prominent area of research, little data on moral judgments of food wasting behavior currently exists. According to (Haidt, 2008), “moral systems are interlocking sets of values, practices, institutions, and evolved psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible” (p. 70). Following this definition, we were interested in explaining how people judge food wasting behavior, and we do not provide any argument on whether they should regard food wasting as immoral behavior. This prescriptive problem has been addressed by the field of ethics (Mirosa et al., 2016; Tisenkopfs et al., 2019).

Building on prior work in the field, we outlined the central research hypothesis: People who judge food wasting behavior immoral will waste less food. Furthermore, we explored gender differences in food wasting behavior and moral judgments of food wasting behavior, as previous studies generated inconclusive results (Principato et al., 2015; Secondi et al., 2015; Visschers et al., 2016).

Although moral judgments are often driven by emotions and intuitions (Haidt, 2001, 2007), some moral judgments are the results of deliberate conscious reasoning (Greene et al., 2004; Greene and Haidt, 2002). Because of that, we investigated whether people have any particular reasons for perceiving food wasting behavior as immoral, and if so, what reasons are the strongest predictors of peoples’ food wasting moral judgments. Based on a qualitative study (Graham-Rowe et al., 2014), we prepared and tested possible motives that may influence moral judgments. Previous research has shown that people who consider food wasting behavior to be immoral are mainly concerned with its negative social impact, e.g. world hunger (Graham-Rowe et al., 2014). Furthermore, people who waste food feel guilt—a social emotion that helps one navigate through relationships with other humans and to act prosocially (Malti, 2016). This suggests that people may feel more obliged to reduce their food wasting behavior when they are motivated by care for other people or the environment. In our study, we wanted to explore whether different reasons for regarding food wasting behavior as immoral form distinctive factors. We also tested a second hypothesis: The most substantial reasons for people to believe that food wasting behavior is immoral are environmental and social issues. We also wanted to explore whether any potential factor underlying the reasons to judge food wasting behavior immoral may predict food wasting behavior.

Different behaviors result in different amounts of wasted food (Romani et al., 2018). Therefore, food wasting behavior was measured with two variables: frequency of food wasting behavior and the amount of wasted food. Both measures are linked to food wasting behavior, but they are not necessarily strongly related. People who rarely engage in food wasting behavior might waste a large amount of food through a single action (e.g. when cleaning the refrigerator). On the other hand, people who regularly engage in food wasting behavior might waste small amounts of food (e.g. by regularly throwing away a few scraps from unfinished meals). This issue is being acknowledged in contemporary research on food wasting behavior (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2018a, b). We assumed that these two measures would be correlated, although not strongly.

Finally, we explored whether a social desirability bias could influence the results of the study. A social desirability bias occurs when a participant who is taking a questionnaire presents a favorable image of themselves in order to conform to socially accepted values (Van de Mortel, 2008). We assumed that people who admitted to wasting food might later report judging food wasting behavior as less immoral to avoid presenting their actions as inconsistent with their moral values (Krumpal, 2013).

2. Material and methods

2.1 Participants

The study was conducted among 562 Polish participants, of which 393 were women (age M = 25.6; SD = 6.77) and 166 were men (age M = 24.7; SD = 7.08). Three participants declared that they were neither a man nor a woman. We decided to exclude data from this group in the analysis where we controlled for sex as this group was too small to adequately identify relationships.

The study was conducted online, recruiting participants via a Facebook page using a snowball sampling technique—a method that has been successfully used in previous studies on human behavior (Kosinski et al., 2015). The Facebook page was created solely for the study and was closed immediately after completing data collection. It was named Psychological study, and in the description, we stated that this page is for promoting a psychological study on human behavior. We gathered the data during April and May of 2017. All participants provided informed consent, remained anonymous, and were not offered participation incentives. Participants did not receive any incentives for participating in the study.

2.2 Measures

In our study, we used self-report measures. A recent study by van Herpen and colleagues (2019) indicated that self-report surveys tend to underestimate the amount of wasted food. We decided to use self-reports, as this method facilitates large-scale studies. Van Herpen et al. (2019) acknowledge that although other methods tend to provide more reliable information on food waste, self-report methods could be used in large-scale studies as a low-cost alternative to other methods, such as diaries or kitchen caddies.

Moral judgments of food wasting behavior: We used a three-step method of assessing moral judgments of food wasting behavior. A similar method of questioning the participants, called hard laddering, was used in previous studies on attitudes toward food wasting behavior (Richter and Bokelmann, 2018). In the first step, participants were asked whether they regard food wasting behavior as immoral with a simple question: Do you regard food wasting behavior as immoral? We used this straightforward question to separate people who judge food wasting behavior as immoral to ask them additional questions. Second, participants who agreed that it is immoral were also asked about the reasons why they believe that food wasting behavior is immoral. Based on the previous studies (Graham-Rowe et al., 2014), this measure was constructed consisting of seven items on a 7-point Likert-type scale. Participants were asked how much they agreed with the statements below (1 - totally disagree, 7 - totally agree). Each of the items served as an independent scale.

I believe that food wasting behavior is immoral because through wasting food we:

  1. disrespect our financial situation.

  2. act against tradition.

  3. do something that our friends will not accept.

  4. contribute to social problems

  5. contribute to environmental degradation

  6. compound the situation of future generations.

After answering these six items, people were asked if there is any other reason why they consider food wasting behavior to be immoral. We included a text box where they could list additional reasons. We used this method as we believe it is a participant-friendly method of assessing complex psychological phenomena.

Frequency of food wasting behavior: A 5-item Food Waste Scale asked participants about the frequency of their food wasting behaviors. In the pilot study, we identified 30 different behavior types that are connected to generating food waste. We aimed to prepare a short scale, suitable for large-scale online studies. A total of 70 people (age M = 24.13; SD = 1.50; 46 women) were asked to answer the question: How often do you engage in this kind of behavior? They were asked to use a 7-point Likert-type scale (1- never, 7 - always). Based on their responses, we conducted a reliability analysis. With the help of two independent judges (psychologists), we picked a set of five items that show high reliability (α = 0.84) and are semantically consistent with each other. We used these final items to assess and differentiate the frequency of food wasting behavior of participants. The final score was calculated through summing up the responses for each item (minimum = 5, maximum = 35).

  1. When I prepare a meal at my household, I sometimes put food excess in the trash.

  2. When the expiration date is passed, I throw away food without checking if it is still edible.

  3. If there is an opportunity, I feed animals with the food I am not able to eat. (reversed)

  4. During shopping, I buy the exact amount of food that I will need that day. (reversed)

  5. I throw away food I cannot eat, and I do not give it to other people.

Amount of wasted food: For assessing the amount of food wasted, participants were asked to think about the amount of food they threw away during the week that preceded the study and to estimate the amount of food in grams. Based on previous studies on food waste (Quested and Johnson, 2009; WRAP, 2009, 2010) a total of seven food groups were provided (1. bread and baked goods; 2. meats: beef, pork, poultry, fish; 3. dairy; 4. fruits; 5. vegetables; 6. sweets; 7. other products). We provided food groups to make it easier for participants to estimate the amount of food they wasted. Participants were presented with a text box for each food group where they could write down the estimated amount of grams they wasted during the preceding week.

Social desirability bias: We decided to change the order of the questionnaires approximately in the middle of the study to minimize the social desirability bias. After 273 participants completed the study (49 per cent of the whole sample), the order of the questions was changed. In the first version, the scale on the frequency of food wasting behavior and the questions about the amount of wasted food was arranged before the questions on moral judgments. The order was reversed in the second version; therefore, we came up with two conditions for the sample (C1 and C2).

We included the abovementioned scales in Appendix 1.

2.3 Statistical analyses

All the analyses were conducted in jamovi (Jamovi project, 2019). We separated the analyses into three steps. Each step addressed a different problem.

First step: Moral judgments and food wasting behavior. In this step, we wanted to verify whether participants judged food wasting behavior as immoral and whether this judgment was associated with the frequency of food wasting behavior (measured with the Food Wasting Scale) and with the amount of wasted food. We assessed the percentage of people who regarded food wasting behavior as immoral, and we verified whether there were gender differences in this judgment. A two-way independent ANOVA was conducted to test whether moral judgment (Do you regard food wasting behavior as immoral? Y/N) and gender of the participant were associated with the frequency food wasting behaviors declared in the Food Waste Scale. This scale was also used to test whether moral judgments and gender were associated with the declared sum of grams of wasted food.

Second step: Factors of reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior. In this step, we wanted to explore whether the reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior form distinct factors and, if so, whether they are related to gender or age. We conducted a factor analysis to identify common factors, and because of the correlations between different reasons, we used an oblique rotation. A principal axis factor analysis was conducted on six items with direct oblimin rotation. The KMO measure of 0.68 verified the sampling adequacy for the analysis. An initial analysis was run to obtain eigenvalues for each factor. We conducted an independent sample t-test to examine whether there are gender differences and a correlational analysis to assess the relationship with age. We also counted the frequency of other reasons that were proposed by the participants.

Third step: Reasons for moral disapproval and food wasting behavior. We conducted multiple linear regression analysis in order to verify whether particular reasons for moral disapproval could predict food wasting behavior. We performed two models: (1) with the Food Waste Scale as a dependent variable and (2) with the amount of wasted food (Ln) as a dependent variable.

Fourth step: Social desirability bias. In order to verify whether any social desirability bias occurred, we conducted an independent sample t-tests where we compared the two conditions with a different order of questions (C1 and C2). We verified whether there were differences in ratings of the reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior, the Food Waste Scale, and the amount of declared grams of wasted food.

We provided additional exploratory analyses in Appendix 2. We present the mean and standard deviation of the declared sum of grams for each food product and an estimation of the yearly amount of wasted food. We also provide the correlations between the scores of moral disapproval for food wasting behavior for different reasons.

3. Results

3.1 First step: moral judgments and food wasting behavior

We found that 78 per cent (n = 439) of participants considered food wasting behavior to be immoral, and 22 per cent (n = 123) did not. Women were more likely to judge food wasting behavior as immoral (80.4 per cent) than men (72.3 per cent, χ2 (1) = 4.48, p = 0.034). Our data met the assumption of homogeneity (Levene’s test p > 0.05), and the qq plot of standardized residuals for the model approximated a normal distribution. There was a significant effect of the moral judgment on the results of the Food Waste Scale (means and standard deviations are presented in Table 1). People who considered food wasting behavior as immoral reported less frequent food wasting behaviors, F(1, 555) = 47.39, p < 0.001. We found no significant effects of gender (p = 0.344) or interaction between gender and moral judgment (p = 0.455). Furthermore, we found that the reliability of the Food Waste Scale was lower than in the pilot study (α = 0.55).

The sum of the grams variable did not meet the criteria for normal distribution (skewness = 5.68), and therefore a log transformation was used (skewness = −0.752). Using a log transformation is a standard procedure to handle data that do not meet the assumption for normal distribution (Field, 2013). No significant effects were found for moral judgment (p = 0.237), gender (p = 0.854) or the interaction between gender and moral judgment (p = 0.945) on the sum of grams of wasted food.

Apart from the primary analyses, we found that a higher frequency of food wasting behavior was associated with larger amounts of food wasted, as indicated by a correlation between the Food Waste Scale and the sum of grams of wasted food (Ln) (r = 0.275, p < 0.001).

3.2 Second step: factors of reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior

We found two factors with eigenvalues over one that explained 51.67 per cent of the variance. The items clustering on the same factor suggested that factor 1 represents externally oriented reasons, and factor 2 represents internally oriented reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior. Table 2 shows the factor loadings after rotation. We found a correlation between the factors (r = 0.23, p < 0.001). We found no significant differences between genders (externally oriented reasons p > 0.11, internally oriented reasons p > 0.07) and no significant correlation with age (externally oriented reasons p > 0.72, internally oriented reasons p > 0.10).

We additionally asked people to provide us with other reasons for why they consider food wasting behavior to be immoral. We analyzed their answers, and we found ten additional reasons that were not reported in the study of Graham–Rowe et al., (2014) (Table 3). We reported only the reasons that were distinct from the six original reasons.

3.3 Third step: reasons for moral disapproval and food wasting behavior

The externally oriented reasons factor significantly predicted scores on the Food Waste Scale, F(2,433) = 6.23, p < 0.01, with an R2 of 0.03. This was the only significant predictor of the Food Waste Scale score. We found no significant prediction for the model with the amount of food wasted as the dependent variable, F(2,370) = 0.05, p = 0.948. The standardized beta coefficients for both models are presented in Table 4.

3.4 Fourth step: social desirability bias

People who answered the questions about food wasting behavior first (C1) declared weaker moral concerns for the environment (M = 5.34, SD = 1.69) and for future generations (M = 4.96, SD = 1.89) than people who answered the questions about their moral judgments first (C2) (environment (M = 5.70, SD = 1.43): t(436) = −3.57, p < 0.001; future generations (M = 5.49, SD = 1.65): t(436) = −3.12, p < 0.015). We found no significant differences between any other reasons for moral concerns (p > 0.05). There were no differences between conditions either on the Food Waste Scale or on the declared amount of wasted food (p > 0.05).

4. Discussion

The objective of this study was to examine moral judgments of food wasting behavior and the associations with self-reported food wasting behavior. The results suggest that food wasting is considered an immoral behavior, consistent with previous qualitative results (Graham-Rowe et al., 2014). Moreover, women judged food wasting behavior as immoral more frequently than men did. Echoing previous studies, women make stronger moral judgments when it comes to harm, fairness, and purity related behaviors (Graham et al., 2011). It appears that food wasting behavior is another domain in which women tend to hold more stringent moral beliefs. In cultures where women are responsible for grocery shopping and food preparation, moral attitudes toward food wasting behavior could arise as a result of higher awareness of the extra-costs and more frequent feelings of guilt when throwing away food (Koivupuro et al., 2012; Secondi et al., 2015). Gender, however, was not linked with food wasting behavior. Although our study supports the view that gender does not influence food wasting behavior, there is a need for further clarification. Previous studies reported that women displayed more frequent food wasting behavior (Visschers et al., 2016); some reported women to waste less food than men (Secondi et al., 2015), and some reported no gender differences (Principato et al., 2015).

People who regarded food wasting behavior as immoral reported less frequent food wasting behaviors. More importantly, we identified two categories of reasons: externally oriented and internally oriented. Externally oriented reasons refer to environmental degradation, social issues, and the well-being of future generations. On the other hand, internally oriented reasons refer to ones’ financial situation, social approval, and going by traditional norms. These reasons directly deal with the well-being of a person who holds these believes as they may impair financial status and lead to social ostracism.

People who judge food wasting behavior as immoral because of externally oriented reasons waste food less frequently. It seems that these reasons provide better motivation for people to cut on their food wasting behavior than internally oriented reasons, which were not related to food wasting behavior. This is in line with evidence that moral judgments of environmentally friendly behaviors predict the actual pro-environmental behavior (Bamberg and Möser, 2007). For example, it has been found that national populations who care more about the well-being of future generations, also care for the future environment as indicated by the lower emission of CO2 (Kasser, 2011). Interestingly, reduction in food wasting behavior would contribute to lower emissions of greenhouse gases (Melikoglu et al., 2013), and in turn, it could help preserve the environment for future generations. Our study provides further evidence that externally oriented reasons may contribute to pro-environmental behavior.

Peoples’ moral judgments did not predict the declared amount of wasted food, though the frequency of food wasting behavior and the amount of wasted food had a weak correlation. Future research should explore moral judgments of food wasting behaviors concerning each behavior, and the exact amount of food waste it produces— regularly throwing away food scraps may generate less food waste than sporadically throwing away a large amount of food.

Some evidence for social desirability bias was found. People that were first asked about their food wasting behavior gave lower ratings for the importance of the environment and future generation’s reasons for avoiding wasting food. This finding suggests that people modify the reasons behind their moral judgments toward food wasting behavior after they admit to food wasting behavior (Barkan et al., 2012). Although it is puzzling why only these particular moral judgments were affected by the order of questionnaires, this result points to the importance of acknowledging human bias in conducting questionnaire studies on food wasting behaviors.

Certain limitations of this study should be taken into account. First of all, the study was based on self-report questionnaire data. Although it is challenging to collect non-declarative data on moral judgments, it is possible to collect data on the amount of wasted food through the actual analysis of household waste (Parizeau et al., 2015). Furthermore, the reliability analysis of the Food Wasting Scale has shown a low consistency of item scores. It could be that the questionnaire with higher consistency would demonstrate stronger correlations with food wasting moral judgments. Secondly, our sample consisted of mostly younger adults—for this reason, we have not been able to test moral judgments of food wasting behavior among people aged over 65 years—a group of people that wastes significantly less food (Quested et al., 2013). Also, we did not control for the number of socio-economic factors that may be linked to food wasting behavior, such as the household size, level of income, and the area of residence—urban or rural.

Furthermore, more specific information about the household may be helpful (e.g. How many people are living in the same household? Does the participant purchase the food? Is the participant responsible for food preparation and food disposal of the entire household?). This would allow us to design a better model as socioeconomic determinants are linked to household food waste (Quested et al., 2013). Also worth considering is that the list of reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior was drawn from a particular population — UK citizens (Graham-Rowe et al., 2014). Because of this, we included a text box in our questionnaire where people could spontaneously write about additional reasons they regard food wasting behavior immoral. Among many reasons, Polish people reported they regard food wasting behavior immoral because it is disrespectful for other peoples’ work, disrespectful for animals who died and suffered, and that it reinforces consumption. This additional list of reasons may be explored in future studies on moral judgments of food wasting behaviors. Human populations vary in their judgments toward food wasting behavior (Misiak et al., 2018), and therefore different populations may have different reasons to regard food wasting behavior immoral. Finally, externally oriented reasons explained only about around 3 per cent of the variance in the results of the frequency of food wasting behavior. Although externally oriented reasons add to the complexity of predictors of food wasting, they might have a minor impact considering other potential factors (Quested et al., 2013).

The results of our study have some implications for policymakers and campaign managers who want to change people’s attitudes toward food wasting behavior. Our study may benefit information campaigns, which are one of the most comprehensive tools used to prevent and reduce food waste in industrialized countries (Nikolaus et al., 2018; Priefer et al., 2016). Researchers argue that for each consumer profile, a different waste reduction policy should be adopted (Di Talia et al., 2019). Our results indicate that people who regard food wasting behavior as immoral due to externally oriented reasons may waste less food. It may be the case that informing those who are already concerned with the environment, social issues, and the situation of future generations about the negative impact of food wasting behavior can be more effective than informing the general public (given limited resources for the campaign).

Another implication concerns the possibility of reducing food wasting behavior through value-based campaigns (Diaz-Ruiz et al., 2018). Specific obstacles to such campaigns should be taken into account, such as the “backfiring” effect of blaming people for wasting (Birau and Faure, 2018), or that through suggesting to people that they behave immorally, campaigners may interfere with their self-integrity—perceiving oneself as a moral person (Graham-Rowe et al., 2019). Our study provides another suggestion for such campaigns—it might be better to target externally oriented reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior rather than to convey general statements that food wasting behavior is immoral, unethical, or only wrong. Thus, activists can focus on building particular messages implying that wasting behavior is immoral due to environmental and social issues and that food wasting behavior hinders the situation of future generations.

4.1 Conclusion

People often judge food wasting behavior as immoral—it is not clear, however, whether this judgment is associated with food wasting behavior. Our study complements previous studies that initially proposed that moral judgments play a role in food wasting behavior. We found that 78 per cent of participants judged food wasting behavior as immoral (with women judging it immoral more frequently). Our further analyses suggest that even if people agree that food wasting behavior is immoral, it is necessary to distinguish between different reasons for such judgments. We found at least two categories of such reasons: externally oriented (food wasting behavior harms the environment, future generations and contributes to social issues) and internally oriented (food wasting behavior impairs financial situation, it is against the tradition, and it is unacceptable by one’s friends). People who judged food wasting behavior immoral because of externally oriented reasons declared less frequent food wasting behaviors. No such association was found in case of internally oriented reasons.

We asked participants to identify additional reasons for regarding food wasting behavior as immoral. Their responses suggested that the distinction between externally oriented and internally oriented reasons might not be sufficient and that there might be other categories of reasons (for example, some people stated that food wasting behavior is disrespectful for the work of other people or that food wasting behavior means that animals had to die and suffer for nothing).

We believe that future research should account for the variability of reasons for moral judgments of food wasting behavior. Asking simple questions about whether one considers food wasting immoral/wrong/unethical misses the various reasons by which people reach this conclusion. These reasons might be crucial in predicting food wasting behavior. Also, focusing on the reasons for moral judgment instead of a moral judgment per se could help to establish whether morality is indeed an important factor affecting food wasting behavior. This, in turn, could lead to effective use of moral messages by policymakers and campaigners aiming at decreasing food waste, thereby helping to meet the food demands of future generations.

Figures

Density histogram for grams of wasted food

Figure A1

Density histogram for grams of wasted food

Means and standard deviations for scores of Food Wasting Scale and sum of grams of wasted food (Ln) among men and women who regarded food wasting behavior as immoral and those who did not

Is food wasting behavior immoral?GenderFood wasting scale mean (SD)Sum of grams (Ln) mean (SD)
YesWomen14.58 (4.74)5.58 (1.37)
Men15.49 (5.26)5.62 (1.17)
NoWomen18.68 (5.72)5.78 (1.36)
Men18.78 (4.60)5.80 (1.32)

Note(s): Ln – log-transformed data

Factor loadings on reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting behavior

Factor 1 (externally oriented reasons)Factor 2 (self-oriented reasons)
Environment0.81−0.04
Future generations0.780.08
Social issues0.69−0.02
Tradition−130.87
Friends-0.010.66
Financial0.100.39

Note(s): Factor loadings > 0.30 are boldfaced

List of additional reasons for considering food wasting behavior immoral and the number of people who reported these reasons in the questionnaire

Additional reasonsn% of study sample (n = 436)
1It is disrespectful for the work of other people368.26%
2The animals had to die and suffer for nothing225.06%
3It reinforces consumerism184.13%
4This food could be fed to hungry animals132.98%
5It is stupid, irrational122.75%
6It is selfish and disgraceful71.61%
7You are harming yourself51.15%
8It reinforces a harmful cultural norm51.15%
9It is disrespectful for the food51.15%
10Food is a gift from God30.68%

Standarized beta coefficients for models considering food wasting behavior and two factors of reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting

Model A: food wasting scaleModel B: the amount of wasted food
B (SE)βB (SE)β
Model A: R2 = 0.03
Model B: R2 < 0.01
Constant14.83 (0.23) 5.59 (0.07)
Externally oriented−0.93* (0.26)−0.17−0.03 (0.08)−0.02
Self-oriented0.13 (0.27)0.020.01 (0.08)0.01

Note(s): *p < 0.001

1When I prepare a meal at my household, I sometimes put food excess in the trash1234567
2When the expiration date passed, I throw away food without checking if it is still edible1234567
3If there is an opportunity, I feed animals with the food I am not able to eat1234567
4During shopping, I buy the exact amount of food that I will need that day1234567
5I throw away food I cannot eat and I do not give it to other people1234567

1disrespect our financial situation1234567
2act against tradition1234567
3do something that our friends will not accept1234567
4contribute to social problems1234567
5contribute to environmental degradation1234567
6compound the situation of future generations1234567

Means, standard deviations and annual estimations (in grams) of declared wasted food in different food categories

1234567All categories summed
Mean10328.881.587.092.210.880.7484
Standard deviation28588.720421918871.2367843
Estimate of annual food wastage5,3561,4984,2384,5244,7945624,19625,168

Note(s): 1. bread and baked goods; 2. meats: beef, pork, poultry, fish; 3. dairy; 4. fruits; 5. vegetables; 6. sweets; 7. other products. Assuming that a year has 52 weeks we estimated the annual mean of food wasted during a year for each food group

Correlations and descriptive statistics of the reasons for moral disapproval of food wasting

Reasons123456
1. Financial
2. Tradition0.34**
3. Friends0.27**0.56**
4. Social issues0.090.020.08
5. Environment0.16**0.010.060.55**
6. Future generations0.16**0.10*0.16**0.55**0.64**
M5.152.552.135.605.605.23
SD1.781.691.371.491.591.79

Note(s): *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01

Appendix 1.

1. Frequency of food wasting behavior (Food Wasting Scale)

The following statements apply to food-related behavior.

How often do you engage in this kind of behavior? Mark your answers on a scale from 1 to 7.

  1. Never

  2. Very rarely

  3. Rarely

  4. Difficult to say

  5. Often

  6. Very often

  7. Always

2. Amount of wasted food

People often throw away food that is still suitable for consumption. They throw away leftovers from lunch, throw away food that has exceeded the “use by” date, do not finish meals in restaurants, or simply throw away food when it does not taste good.

Recall the amount of food you threw away last week, at home and away from home. If you do not remember exactly, try to estimate and give an approximate value. Give the answers in grams. If you have not thrown away any of the products in the last week, enter “0 g”.

Estimate the weight (in grams) of products that you have thrown out of the following categories in the last 7 days.

If you do not remember, try to estimate.

3. Food wasting moral judgments

  • Step 1 Do you regard food wasting immoral?

  • Step 2 (only for participants who declared they regard food wasting immoral)

We would like to find out why you consider food wasting to be immoral. Below is a list of arguments that other people use to justify their moral assessment of food wasting. Indicate to what extent you agree with each of the following positions, regardless of what other people think about wasting food.

  1. Totally disagree

  2. Moderately disagree

  3. Slightly disagree

  4. Neither agree nor disagree

  5. Slightly agree

  6. Moderately agree

  7. Totally agree

I believe that food wasting is immoral because through food wasting we:

  • Step 3 Are there any other reasons why you consider food wasting to be immoral?

Appendix 2

Additional exploratory analyses

We present the mean and standard deviation of the declared sum of grams for each food product and an estimation of the yearly amount of wasted food in Table 1. We also plotted a violin and box plot for quantities (Figure A1). Our rough estimation of annual household food wastage of 25.17 kg per capita is 53 per cent lower than previous estimates of 54 kg per capita (Monier et al., 2010), which suggests that our estimates are context-specific (individual estimations of ones’ own behavior) and should not be compared directly.

Correlations between the scores of moral disapproval for food wasting behavior for different reasons are presented in Table 2.

References

Aitsidou, V., Michailidis, A., Partalidou, M. and Iakovidou, O. (2019), “Household food waste management: socio-ecological dimensions”, British Food Journal, Vol. 121 No. 9, pp. 2163-2178, doi: 10.1108/BFJ-02-2019-0111.

Ajzen, I. (1991), “The theory of planned behavior”, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 50 No. 2, pp. 179-211, doi: 10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T.

Aschemann-Witzel, J., de Hooge, I.E., Almli, V.L. and Oostindjer, M. (2018), “Fine-tuning the fight against food waste”, Journal of Macromarketing, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 168-184, doi: 10.1177/0276146718763251.

Aschemann-Witzel, J., Giménez, A. and Ares, G. (2018), “Convenience or price orientation? Consumer characteristics influencing food waste behaviour in the context of an emerging country and the impact on future sustainability of the global food sector”, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 49, pp. 85-94, doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.02.002.

Bamberg, S. and Möser, G. (2007), “Twenty years after Hines, Hungerford, and Tomera: a new meta-analysis of psycho-social determinants of pro-environmental behaviour”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 14-25, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2006.12.002.

Barkan, R., Ayal, S., Gino, F. and Ariely, D. (2012), “The pot calling the kettle black: distancing response to ethical dissonance”, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Vol. 141 No. 4, pp. 757-773, doi: 10.1037/a0027588.

Birau, M.M. and Faure, C. (2018), “It is easy to do the right thing: avoiding the backfiring effects of advertisements that blame consumers for waste”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 87, pp. 102-117, doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.02.026.

Brentjens, I., Cicati, C., Fritzsche, J., Gavazzi, S., Gosio, P., Lindvall, A., Schwarz, K., Scott, E., Wetzlmair, L. and Widey, M. (2019), Policy Proposal on Reducing Food Waste Towards a Circular EU, FAO, available at: http://www.student-forum.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Food-waste.pdf.

Buzby, J.C. and Hyman, J. (2012), “Total and per capita value of food loss in the USA”, Food Policy, Vol. 37 No. 5, pp. 561-570, doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.06.002.

Chan, L. and Bishop, B. (2013), “A moral basis for recycling: extending the theory of planned behaviour”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 36, pp. 96-102, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.07.010.

Chapagain, A.K. and James, K. (2013), “Accounting for the impact of food waste on water resources and climate change”, in Kosseva, M.R. and Webb, C. (Eds), Food Industry Wastes, Academic Press, pp. 217-236, doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-391921-2.00012-3.

Corrado, S. and Sala, S. (2018), “Food waste accounting along global and European food supply chains: state of the art and outlook”, Waste Management, Vol. 79, pp. 120-131, doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.07.032.

de Leeuw, A., Valois, P., Ajzen, I. and Schmidt, P. (2015), “Using the theory of planned behavior to identify key beliefs underlying pro-environmental behavior in high-school students: implications for educational interventions”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 42, pp. 128-138, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.03.005.

Di Talia, E., Simeone, M. and Scarpato, D. (2019), “Consumer behaviour types in household food waste”, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 214, pp. 166-172, doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.12.216.

Diaz-Ruiz, R., Costa-Font, M. and Gil, J.M. (2018), “Moving ahead from food-related behaviours: an alternative approach to understand household food waste generation”, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 172, pp. 1140-1151, doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.148.

Farr‐Wharton, G., Foth, M. and Choi, J.H.J. (2014), “Identifying factors that promote consumer behaviours causing expired domestic food waste”, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 393-402, doi: 10.1002/cb.1488.

Field, A. (2013), Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS Statistics, 4th ed., SAGE Publications.

Godin, G., Conner, M. and Sheeran, P. (2005), “Bridging the intention–behaviour gap: the role of moral norm”, British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 497-512, doi: 10.1348/014466604X17452.

Graham, J., Nosek, B.A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S. and Ditto, P.H. (2011), “Mapping the moral domain”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 101 No. 2, pp. 366-385, doi: 10.1037/a0021847.

Graham-Rowe, E., Jessop, D.C. and Sparks, P. (2014), “Identifying motivations and barriers to minimising household food waste”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 84, pp. 15-23, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.12.005.

Graham-Rowe, E., Jessop, D.C. and Sparks, P. (2015), “Predicting household food waste reduction using an extended theory of planned behaviour”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 101, pp. 194-202, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2015.05.020.

Graham-Rowe, E., Jessop, D.C. and Sparks, P. (2019), “Self-affirmation theory and pro-environmental behaviour: promoting a reduction in household food waste”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2019.02.003.

Greene, J. and Haidt, J. (2002), “How (and where) does moral judgment work?”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 6 No. 12, pp. 517-523, doi: 10.1016/S1364-6613(02)02011-9.

Greene, J.D., Nystrom, L.E., Engell, A.D., Darley, J.M. and Cohen, J.D. (2004), “The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment”, Neuron, Vol. 44 No. 2, pp. 389-400, doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.09.027.

Gustavsson, J., Cederberg, C. and Sonesson, U. (2011), Global Food Losses and Food Waste: Extent, Causes and Prevention; Study Conducted for the International Congress Save Food! at Interpack 2011, [16 - 17 May], Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Düsseldorf.

Haidt, J. (2001), “The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment”, Psychological Review, Vol. 108 No. 4, pp. 814-834, doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.108.4.814.

Haidt, J. (2007), “The new synthesis in moral Psychology”, Science, Vol. 316 No. 5827, pp. 998-1002, doi: 10.1126/science.1137651.

Haidt, J. (2008), “Morality”, Perspectives on Psychological Science,Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 65-72, doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6916.2008.00063.x.

Hamilton, C., Denniss, R. and Baker, D. (2005), Wasteful Consumption in Australia, Australia Institute, Canberra, Vol. 46.

Houghton, R.A. (2012), “Carbon emissions and the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics”, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 4 No. 6, pp. 597-603, doi: 10.1016/j.cosust.2012.06.006.

Jamovi project (2019), Jamovi (Version 0.9) [Computer Software], available at: https://www.jamovi.org.

Kaiser, F.G. (2006), “A moral extension of the theory of planned behavior: norms and anticipated feelings of regret in conservationism”, Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 71-81, doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2005.11.028.

Kallbekken, S. and Sælen, H. (2013), “‘Nudging’ hotel guests to reduce food waste as a win–win environmental measure”, Economics Letters, Vol. 119 No. 3, pp. 325-327, doi: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.03.019.

Kasser, T. (2011), “Cultural values and the well-being of future generations: a cross-national study”, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 206-215, doi: 10.1177/0022022110396865.

Koivupuro, H.-K., Hartikainen, H., Silvennoinen, K., Katajajuuri, J.-M., Heikintalo, N., Reinikainen, A. and Jalkanen, L. (2012), “Influence of socio-demographical, behavioural and attitudinal factors on the amount of avoidable food waste generated in Finnish households”, International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 183-191, doi: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2011.01080.x.

Kosinski, M., Matz, S.C., Gosling, S.D., Popov, V. and Stillwell, D. (2015), “Facebook as a research tool for the social sciences: opportunities, challenges, ethical considerations, and practical guidelines”, American Psychologist, Vol. 70 No. 6, pp. 543-556, doi: 10.1037/a0039210.

Krumpal, I. (2013), “Determinants of social desirability bias in sensitive surveys: a literature review”, Quality and Quantity, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 2025-2047, doi: 10.1007/s11135-011-9640-9.

Malti, T. (2016), “Toward an integrated clinical-developmental model of guilt”, Developmental Review, Vol. 39, pp. 16-36, doi: 10.1016/j.dr.2015.11.001.

Melikoglu, M., Lin, C.S.K. and Webb, C. (2013), “Analysing global food waste problem: Pinpointing the facts and estimating the energy content”, Central European Journal of Engineering, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 157-164, doi: 10.2478/s13531-012-0058-5.

Mirosa, M., Pearson, D. and Pearson, R. (2016), “Ethics of food waste”, The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics, doi: 10.4324/9781315745503-49.

Monier, V., Mudgal, S., Escalon, V., O’Connor, C., Gibon, T., Anderson, G. and Montoux, H. (2010), Preparatory study on food waste across EU 27: Technical Report. European Communities: Paris, France.

Misiak, M., Butovskaya, M. and Sorokowski, P. (2018), “Ecology shapes moral judgments towards food-wasting behavior: evidence from the Yali of west Papua, the ngorongoro Maasai, and Poles”, Appetite, Vol. 125, pp. 124-130, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.12.031.

Nikolaus, C.J., Nickols-Richardson, S.M. and Ellison, B. (2018), “Wasted food: a qualitative study of U.S. young adults' perceptions, beliefs and behaviors”, Appetite, Vol. 130, pp. 70-78, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.07.026.

Nordlund, A., Jansson, J. and Westin, K. (2016), “New transportation technology: norm activation Processes and the intention to switch to an electric/hybrid vehicle”, Transportation Research Procedia, Vol. 14, pp. 2527-2536, doi: 10.1016/j.trpro.2016.05.334.

Parfitt, J., Barthel, M. and Macnaughton, S. (2010), “Food waste within food supply chains: quantification and potential for change to 2050”, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 365 No. 1554, pp. 3065-3081, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0126.

Parizeau, K., von Massow, M. and Martin, R. (2015), “Household-level dynamics of food waste production and related beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours in Guelph, Ontario”, Waste Management, Vol. 35, pp. 207-217, doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2014.09.019.

Pérez y Pérez, L. and Egea, P. (2019), “About intentions to donate for sustainable rural development: an exploratory study”, Sustainability, Vol. 11 No. 3, p. 765.

Porpino, G., Wansink, B. and Parente, J. (2016), “Wasted positive intentions: the role of affection and abundance on household food waste”, Journal of Food Products Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 733-751, doi: 10.1080/10454446.2015.1121433.

Priefer, C., Jörissen, J. and Bräutigam, K.-R. (2016), “Food waste prevention in Europe – a cause-driven approach to identify the most relevant leverage points for action”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 109, pp. 155-165, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2016.03.004.

Principato, L., Secondi, L. and Pratesi, C.A. (2015), “Reducing food waste: an investigation on the behaviour of Italian youths”, British Food Journal, Vol. 117 No. 2, pp. 731-748, doi: 10.1108/BFJ-10-2013-0314.

Qi, D. and Roe, B.E. (2016), “Household food waste: multivariate regression and principal components analyses of awareness and attitudes among U.S. Consumers”, PloS One, Vol. 11 No. 7, e0159250, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159250.

Quested, T. and Johnson, H. (2009), “Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK: Final report”, Wastes and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/downloads/Household_food_and_drink_waste_in_the_UK_-_report.8438d59b.8048.pdf.

Quested, T.E., Marsh, E., Stunell, D. and Parry, A.D. (2013), “Spaghetti soup: the complex world of food waste behaviours”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 79, pp. 43-51, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2013.04.011.

Richter, B. and Bokelmann, W. (2018), “The significance of avoiding household food waste – a means-end-chain approach”, Waste Management, Vol. 74, pp. 34-42, doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2017.12.012.

Rivis, A., Sheeran, P. and Armitage, C.J. (2009), “Expanding the affective and normative components of the theory of planned behavior: a meta-analysis of anticipated affect and moral norms”, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol. 39 No. 12, pp. 2985-3019, doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2009.00558.x.

Romani, S., Grappi, S., Bagozzi, R.P. and Barone, A.M. (2018), “Domestic food practices: a study of food management behaviors and the role of food preparation planning in reducing waste”, Appetite, Vol. 121, pp. 215-227, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.11.093.

Ru, X., Qin, H. and Wang, S. (2019), “Young people's behaviour intentions towards reducing PM2.5 in China: extending the theory of planned behaviour”, Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 141, pp. 99-108, doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.10.019.

Schanes, K., Dobernig, K. and Gözet, B. (2018), “Food waste matters—a systematic review of household food waste practices and their policy implications”, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 182, pp. 978-991, doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.02.030.

Secondi, L., Principato, L. and Laureti, T. (2015), “Household food waste behaviour in EU-27 countries: a multilevel analysis”, Food Policy, Vol. 56, pp. 25-40, doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2015.07.007.

Setti, M., Falasconi, L., Segrè, A., Cusano, I. and Vittuari, M. (2016), “Italian consumers’ income and food waste behaviour”, British Food Journal, Vol. 118, pp. 1731-1746, doi: 10.1108/02656710210415703.

Sheeran, P. and Webb, T.L. (2016), “The intention–behavior gap”, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, Vol. 10 No. 9, pp. 503-518, doi: 10.1111/spc3.12265.

Sheikh, S. and Janoff-Bulman, R. (2010), “The ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ of moral emotions: a self-regulatory Perspective on shame and guilt”, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 213-224, doi: 10.1177/0146167209356788.

Springmann, M., Clark, M., Mason-D’Croz, D., Wiebe, K., Bodirsky, B.L., Lassaletta, L., Vries, W.de, Vermeulen, S.J., Herrero, M., Carlson, K.M., Jonell, M., Troell, M., DeClerck, F., Gordon, L.J., Zurayk, R., Scarborough, P., Rayner, M., Loken, B., Fanzo, J. and Willett, W. (2018), “Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits”, Nature, Vol. 562 No. 7728, p. 519, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0594-0.

Stancu, V., Haugaard, P. and Lähteenmäki, L. (2016), “Determinants of consumer food waste behaviour: two routes to food waste”, Appetite, Vol. 96, pp. 7-17, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.08.025.

Stefan, V., van Herpen, E., Tudoran, A.A. and Lähteenmäki, L. (2013), “Avoiding food waste by Romanian consumers: the importance of planning and shopping routines”, Food Quality and Preference, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 375-381, doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.11.001.

Stenmarck, Å., Jensen, C., Quested, T., Moates, G., Buksti, M., Cseh, B., Juul, S., Parry, A., Politano, A., Redlingshofer, B., Scherhaufer, S., Silvennoinen, K., Soethoudt, H., Zübert, C. and Östergren, K. (2016), “Estimates of European food waste levels”, available at: http://edepot.wur.nl/378674.

Tisenkopfs, T., Kilis, E., Grivins, M. and Adamsone-Fiskovica, A. (2019), “Whose ethics and for whom? Dealing with ethical disputes in agri-food governance”, Agriculture and Human Values, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 353-364, doi: 10.1007/s10460-019-09921-6.

Van de Mortel, T.F. (2008), “Faking it: social desirability response bias in self-report research”, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 40-48.

van Herpen, E., van der Lans, I.A., Holthuysen, N., Nijenhuis-de Vries, M. and Quested, T.E. (2019), “Comparing wasted apples and oranges: an assessment of methods to measure household food waste”, Waste Management, Vol. 88, pp. 71-84, doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2019.03.013.

Visschers, V.H.M., Wickli, N. and Siegrist, M. (2016), “Sorting out food waste behaviour: a survey on the motivators and barriers of self-reported amounts of food waste in households”, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 45, pp. 66-78, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.11.007.

World Economic Forum (2016), The Global Risks Report, 11th Ed., World Economic Forum, available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GRR/WEF_GRR16.pdf.

WRAP (2007), “Retail programme—food waste: final report, food behaviour consumer research: quantitative phase”, available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Food%20behaviour%20consumer%20research%20quantitative%20jun%202007.pdf.

WRAP (2009), “Down the drain (WRAP project EVA063)”, available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Down%20the%20drain%20-%20report.pdf.

WRAP (2010), “Helping consumers reduce food waste – a retail survey”, available at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/A_Retail_Survey.e5de3bec.9596.pdf.

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by National Science Center, Poland (2016/23/N/HS6/00849 to Michał Misiak).

Corresponding author

Michal Misiak can be contacted at: michal.misiak@uwr.edu.pl