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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Food waste as the consequence of competing motivations, insufficient abilities and lacking opportunities

Published: May 28, 2019


Lisanne Geffen, Wagenigen UR; Erica van Herpen, Wagenigen UR; Hans Trijp, Wageningen University; Siet Sijtsema, Wagenigen UR


Consumer food waste; competing goals; MOA framework


This study explores consumers’ motivation, abilities and opportunities to avoid food waste in its daily context where competing (food related) goals are present. The motivation, ability and opportunity framework is used to disentangle the complex of factors contributing to food waste. Results of twenty-four focus groups performed in four European countries, show that household food waste is the unintended result of balancing between multiple competing goals. Additionally, results point out that consumers’ abilities and opportunities influence the ease with which consumers can act upon their hedonic and gain goals, and simultaneously avoid food waste. These insights imply that, rather than solely strengthening consumers’ importance given to food waste prevention, interventions should also focus on providing (the missing) abilities and opportunities that will enable consumers to comply with their goals, including food waste prevention.


Horizon project REFRESH, Mariet Haaster-de Winter, Katalin Újhelyi, Raquel Diaz Ruiz, Anna-Carina Diedrich, Patrik Eisenhauer, Nora Brüggemann and Hilke Bos-Brouwer