A mixed-methods study of retail food waste in New Zealand
Goodman-Smith, Francesca; Mirosa, Miranda; Skeaff, Sheila
Little is known about the amount of food wasted in the retail sector. This study aimed to quantify retail food waste in New Zealand (NZ) and identify key drivers for food waste reduction, using a mixed-methods, observational study design that consisted of three parts: onsite food waste audits undertaken in 16 selected stores (complete data from 11 stores); semi-structured interviews with key retail staff from each store; and obtaining existing data from retailers. Retail food waste in NZ was estimated at 13 kg/capita/year for all food waste and diverted product (i.e. all food not sold or utilised at a retail level), which included 5 kg/capita/year designated as food waste (i.e. food directed to landfill, protein reprocessing and compost), with 3 kg/capita/year of this sent to landfill. Fresh vegetables (27%), bakery (23%), meat and fish (19%) and fresh fruit (17%) contributed the most to discarded product. The motivators for encouraging food waste reduction were: concern for the environment; making profit; caring for the community; and doing the ‘right’ thing. The barriers to food waste reduction were: training and educating staff; food safety concerns; quality standards; availability and capacity of waste diversion avenues; and lack of available resources. Audit data and food waste data recorded by retailers were similar. NZ has a number of policies and practices that successfully divert retail food waste away from landfill, in particular, retailers have established relationships with various groups that use their waste as a resource including protein reprocessors, local farmers, and food rescue charities.
Rights Statement: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101845
Keywords: Food Waste; sustainability; compost; supermarket; Retail store; Food loss; Landfill
Research Type: Journal Article