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Reducing food waste: an investigation on the behaviour of Italian youths

Ludovica Principato (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Luca Secondi (Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest systems, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy)
Carlo Alberto Pratesi (Department of Business Studies, University of Roma Tre, Rome, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to assess the knowledge of youths concerning food waste as well as to identify factors that influence changes in behaviour concerning food wasted and planning shopping for preventing it.


The data used were collected from a sample of 233 students at Roma-Tre University in Italy. Probit models were specified to identify factors affecting food waste reduction in both pre-shopping and consumption phases.


Results show that the more aware youths are concerning food waste, the more likely they are to reduce leftovers. In contrast, the concern about food freshness increases waste. A greater awareness of the consequences of food wasted increases the likelihood that youths will make a shopping list.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the study can be found in the non-probabilistic sampling design used for the collection of data.

Practical implications

This study provides information for both social marketers and policy makers. New educational campaigns against food waste should be carried out by providing them with a realistic perception of food waste as well as by teaching young consumers how to recognize the level of freshness of food.


This study provides a first insight of the factors that influence food waste reduction as well as the habit of making a shopping list from an individual perspective.



The authors wish to thank the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition that funded the two-year research fellowship of Ludovica Principato at the Roma Tre University, and in particular Luca Ruini. The authors are also grateful to Professors Costanza Nosi and Francesca Renzi who permitted the questionnaires submission to the students in their classes. A special thanks to Costanza Nosi for her helpful comments.


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.



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