Food-related routines, product characteristics, and household food waste in the United States: A refrigerator-based pilot study

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. U.S. households waste a substantial quantity of food and are advised to better manage purchasing and storage of perishable foods as a means to reduce food waste. However, little research exists concerning the contents and management of home refrigerators, which are central to most advice regarding home food waste reduction. We survey U.S. consumers about their home refrigerator inventories to assess the relationship between food-related routines and important considerations in the food discarding decision process, as well as the influence of food-related routines and product characteristics on the utilization of refrigerated foods. Our pilot study reveals that physical and institutional signals of food safety and quality drive consumer decision making about discarding food. We also find that refrigerator cleaning frequency, grocery shopping duration and frequently checking nutrition labels are among food-related routines that affect the utilization of refrigerated food. Additionally, “best by”, “use by” and ambiguous date labeling significantly decrease the odds that food items are fully utilized.

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Resources, Conservation and Recycling

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