Reducing food waste via retail and food service interventions : Consumer responses to the concepts ‘VIV’ and ‘Too Good To Go’

Zeinstra, G.G.; Haar, S. van der


Introduction: About one third of all produced food is wasted, leading to economic, societal and environmental losses. Little is known about effective interventions to reduce food waste. Aim: To investigate consumer responses and the impact on food-waste related behaviour regarding two food waste reduction initiatives. Methods: Entrepreneurs from the Dutch initiative ‘Verspilling is Verrukkelijk’ (=VIV; translation: ‘Spoilage is Superlicious’) manufacture products that are made of food ingredients, that would have gone to waste. These products are offered at a dedicated shelf in a supermarket. A ‘second-placement’ and ‘food-saved-monitor’ strategy were sequentially implemented in this supermarket to draw consumers’ attention to these products and effects were monitored. The Too Good To Go (TGTG) concept tackles the potential loss of unsold food from retail and food service industry by selling ‘magic boxes’ at discount price to users of the TGTG app, with the aim to reduce food waste. Via six focus group discussions and an online survey amongst users (N=611), it was investigated what happens with the food in the magic boxes after they have been picked up. Results: The VIV-shelf was more often noticed during the intervention periods compared to the baseline period (p<0.001) and sales increased from 6 VIV products per day during baseline to 9 products during the two intervention periods (p=0.04). The results from both the focus group discussions and the survey indicated that very little food (~10%) from the TGTG magic boxes is discarded. If food was discarded, main reasons were that the food was spoiled (health risks), disliked or habitually not eaten. Discussion: Both supermarket strategies increased customer awareness and boosted sales, although overall sales of VIV-products remained relatively low. The TGTG concept positively contributes to food waste reduction, as most of the saved food from the magic boxes was actually consumed.