Designing effective interventions to reduce household food waste
The Australian National Food Waste Strategy Baseline has identified that nearly 300kgs of food is wasted in Australia per person per year. This equates to a total of 7.3 million tonnes of food, of which households generate 34% of this total and approximately 92% of household food waste still goes directly to landfill, which has significant environmental consequences. Large amounts of household food waste could be avoided through better purchasing and storing of food, cooking the right portion size, eating leftovers, understanding food safety and date labels, and valuing food as done historically. Achieving these objectives will require large scale household behaviour change by consumers.
Critical to the future success of this project is that it now involves governments in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and Queensland together with Woolworths, FIAL, Foodbank Australia, OzHarvest, and Waste Resources Action Program (UK). Through a large Australian-first national consumer survey, this project will provide empirical evidence on behaviours leading to food waste in households throughout Australia and will identify distinct audience groups based on their food waste attitudes, beliefs and practices. Understanding these diverse audience groups is vital for industry, government and community organisations which run household food waste campaigns. Associated participants will directly benefit from the survey results, and the evidence-based decision making will improve the effectiveness of their efforts and have a positive impact on reducing food waste.
However, simply having a better understanding the consumer is not sufficient. Guidelines will be developed for practitioners developing and running campaigns to reduce food waste. These guidelines will be based on behavioural insights and behaviour change theory to prioritise household food waste interventions for each of the identified audience groups around criteria such as potential impact, likely uptake, and ease of adoption.
Evaluation guidelines will also be developed to assist in providing a common approach for evaluating the effect of interventions.