Use-up day and flexible recipes : Reducing household food waste by helping families prepare food they already have

Cooper, A.; Lion, R.; Rodriguez-Sierra, O.E.; Jeffrey, P.; Thomson, D.; Peters, K.; Christopher, L.; Zhu, M.J.H.; Wistrand, L.; van der Werf, P.; van Herpen, E.


In two 5-week randomized-controlled field studies, Canadian and US households were invited to make one meal per week from food that might otherwise be discarded, using flexible recipes. In the first study (Canada), tools to increase the salience of unused food (storage basket, clips to tag, or whiteboard) were also explored. A second study (US) examined a shorter program and the addition of follow-up reminders. Food waste was assessed with a self-reported food waste measure. Intervention groups reduced their food waste significantly versus baseline by 33% (Canada) and 46% (US) and versus control by 27% (Canada) and 33% (US). The salience tools (study 1) or duration (study 2) had no impact. Eight weeks after the intervention food saving continued although the intervention conditions no longer differed significantly from control. In the US, change in Perceived Behavioral Control partially mediated the impact of the intervention on food waste reduction.