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EMAC 2022 Annual

Is nudging an effective tool to reduce food waste intention among young consumers? An application of the VBN theory

Published: May 24, 2022


Elena Fraj-Andres, University of Zaragoza; Carolina Herrando, University of Zaragoza; Laura Lucia-Palacios, University of Zaragoza; Raul Perez-Lopez, Universidad de Zaragoza


Food waste has become a major issue for today’s institutions, which are trying to reduce this irresponsible behavior, especially among young consumers. However, the effectiveness of the strategies implemented is doubtful. This paper aims to demonstrate how lack of concern influences consumers’ food waste intention through the Value-Belief-Norm theory, as well as proposes nudging as a powerful strategy to impact consumers’ values, beliefs and norms regarding this problem. The analysis is based on SEM and a survey among 716 young consumers. The findings confirm that lack of concern about food waste consequences has a negative effect on awareness of food waste consequences. Additionally, there is a positive relationship in the rest of the paths predicted by VBN theory. Nudging has a negative and significant influence on lack of concern and positive effects on awareness, ascription of responsibility, moral norms and intention. This suggests that to promote a culture of the food value in society, institutions should report on what it costs to produce food and about the different and serious consequences of its waste.