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Using consumer surveys to determine food sustainability

Wayne Martindale (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 July 2014




The purpose of this paper is to define the sustainability attributes of frozen and fresh food consumption in a typical household. The reason for writing this paper is that food preservation is often overlooked when developing sustainability strategies.


This study uses established carbon footprint data for specific food types and consumer survey data to determine how consumers use fresh and frozen products in the home. Consumption and waste data for 83 households was obtained using a combination of narrative and graphical association questions.


The results show greenhouse gas emissions associated with a diets containing frozen food are reduced because 47 per cent less frozen foods is wasted as compared to fresh foods with a typical household wasting 10.4 per cent of fresh food and 5.9 per cent frozen food.

Research limitations/implications

This research has highlighted the importance of understanding the waste impacts of catering and food service consumption outside the home.

Practical implications

This research will guide future product development for frozen foods with regard to dietary planning and portion control.

Social implications

The cost and sustainability benefits of meal planning are identified and these will inform policy making and education to improve dietary choices.


This work extends the scope of current consumer surveys that assess quality, value and taste attributes to sustainability criteria and it will enable collaboration between fresh and frozen product categories to deliver sustainable dietary options.



© Dr Wayne Martindale.

The initial questionnaire design in the research presented here and the APC was funded by Iglo Foods Ltd.


Martindale, W. (2014), "Using consumer surveys to determine food sustainability", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 7, pp. 1194-1204.



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Copyright © 2014, Authors

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