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Consumers' perception of suboptimal food: strategies to reduce food waste

Erica Varese (Department of Management, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy)
Maria Chiara Cesarani (Department of Management, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy)
Magdalena Wojnarowska (Department of Technology and Ecology of Products, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Krakowie, Krakow, Poland)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 31 March 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




The purpose of this paper is to review, through a systematic literature review, the different perspectives from which imperfect, ugly and suboptimal food products lead to food waste, as well as to ascertain which are the already proposed improvements, and to present further solutions to develop more sustainable food production and consumption.


A systematic literature review was conducted using PRISMA methodology and searching for the following keywords: “imperfect fruit”, “imperfect food”, “ugly fruit” and “ugly food”; the review was carried out within three databases (Emerald, Scopus and Science Direct-Elsevier), starting, since the topic is quite recent, from the first published article on this issue. Only peer-reviewed papers were selected.


Results reveal that, among 188 papers, only 49 fit the aim of the literature review, analysing what strategies can be used to ameliorate consumers' perception of suboptimal food in order to fight food waste. Specifically, four different interventions are suggested: on the supply chain, on personal experience and awareness campaigns, on promoting circular economy, and on marketing and advertising campaigns.


This paper fills a gap in literature since, by the authors' knowledge, this is the first literature review which analyses different strategies on food waste reduction linked to imperfect/suboptimal food, suggesting further steps which may be taken.



Varese, E., Cesarani, M.C. and Wojnarowska, M. (2023), "Consumers' perception of suboptimal food: strategies to reduce food waste", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 1, pp. 361-378.



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