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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

«Show Me Your Basket, I Show You What Drives Your Food Waste” Identifying Drivers of Shoppers’ Food Waste and Ways to Reduce It

Published: May 25, 2021


Sybilla Merian, University of Zurich; Petra Tipaldi, University of Zurich, Department of Marketing ; Klaus Fuchs, ETH Zurich; Martin Natter, University of Zurich, Deparment of Business Administration, Chair of Marketing


Approximately one-third of all food quantities produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted. As food production is a huge strain on our environment, the current public debate on reducing food waste puts unprecedented pressure on sellers. We propose a novel approach to identify food waste predictors based on the consumer’s grocery basket data. Using a unique data set of loyalty-card shopping data of two retailers that cover 70% of the national market share, we identify important basket and household characteristics that explain food waste behavior. Our analysis and its proposed application enable retailers to help consumers to track and adjust their food waste behavior at its source: grocery shopping. Thereby, our findings do not just open the opportunity for retailers to support consumers to reduce food waste, but also enable them to enter a more meaningful relationship with their customers while responding to their responsibility as a part of the food supply chain.


This project is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (100013_197633: ShopHero - Digital Receipt Based Sustainability and Food Waste Monitoring and Interventions) and the URPP Social Networks of the University of Zurich.