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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

The relationship between retail price promotions and household-level food waste – Busting the myth with actual food waste and deal share data?

Published: May 28, 2019


George Tsalis, Aarhus University; Birger Boutrup Jensen, Aarhus University; Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, Aarhus University


Food-waste; Retailing; Price-promotions


Pricing tactics are often blamed for food waste in households, but there is lack of empirical evidence to support that claim. Such evidence is needed especially in light of the fact that price promotions are being increasingly utilized to encourage the sale of suboptimal foods. Can price promotions assume the dual role of the villain that exacerbates food waste, as well as of the hero that combats it? We aim to clarify and empirically explore this relation. We collected food waste data within a three week period, deal behavior data through shopping receipts, as well as price involvement and attitudinal data through a questionnaire from 108 households in Denmark. Results show that households with the largest actual deal share appear to waste less food. The same holds for those who are environmentally conscious, whereas larger, as well as more waste prone households waste more food. Findings imply that the commonly held assumption that price promotions cause food waste is questionable.