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Drivers and barriers to food waste reduction

Isadora do Carmo Stangherlin (Department of Postgraduate Programme in Management, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)
Marcia Dutra de Barcellos (Department of Postgraduate Programme in Management, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 23 August 2018

Issue publication date: 20 September 2018




The purpose of this paper is to analyse main drivers and barriers to food waste reduction in the consumption phase and analyse pathways to anti-wastage behaviours.


A systematic literature review was performed in order to understand the main variables affecting the behaviour and to identify pathways to move to an anti-waste behaviour. In the end, 84 articles were selected for the final analysis.


Drivers and barriers to reduce food waste were categorised in societal factors, personal factors and behavioural factors. Variables can increase the amount of waste (+) or reduce it (−). From them, efforts to move to an anti-wastage behaviour are classified in macro-environmental change, retailers’ engagement, raise awareness of the issue and creating anti-wastage social norms.

Research limitations/implications

The systematic review did not capture all variables that can influence consumer food waste and it is necessary different approaches to study the issue.

Practical implications

From the drivers for food waste reduction it is possible to design efforts to help consumers change their pattern of behaviour.

Social implications

Reducing food waste has effects in changing economic inequality, relative poverty and environmental damages.


The great majority of studies that analyse consumer food waste focus on behaviours that increase food waste. This special paper identifies how to stimulate and proactively work with behaviours that help to food waste reduction.



Stangherlin, I.d.C. and de Barcellos, M.D. (2018), "Drivers and barriers to food waste reduction", British Food Journal, Vol. 120 No. 10, pp. 2364-2387.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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