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The attributes of leftovers and higher-order personal values

Lynda Andrews (Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Gayle Kerr (Department of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
David Pearson (Faculty of Arts and Design, Central Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia)
Miranda Mirosa (Department of Food Science, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 August 2018

Issue publication date: 30 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the inter-relationships between peoples’ perceptions of the attributes of leftover food and how they lead to higher-order values in relation to food waste.


The method involved an online, text-based, qualitative survey of 112 panel members from a market research firm. The data were examined using thematic analysis and framed using a means-end approach.


Findings show that leftover foods take on both positive and negative attributes and benefits, as shown in four themes—tasty foods, dangerous foods, images of spoiling and used or second-hand—leading to consequences, identified as creating time, Time to binning and repurposing. Additionally, how individuals in a household speak of themselves based on their higher-order values, termed as states of being, can determine whether such foods are repurposed or consigned to the bin. These states of being are reflected in the three themes: the responsible ones, the virtuous ones and the blameless ones.


This study provides more focussed insights on the interplay between the attributes and benefits of leftovers and how household members position themselves towards these foods, particularly in their transition to waste.



Andrews, L., Kerr, G., Pearson, D. and Mirosa, M. (2018), "The attributes of leftovers and higher-order personal values", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 9, pp. 1965-1979.



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