PhD "Food Waste: From Excess to Enough"

Gepubliceerd op
30 januari 2020
Locatie Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a PhD candidate to examine the effects of changes in food retailing on consumer behavior, with a focus on minimizing food waste. Do you want to contribute to a transformation in food retailing? Do you want to examine how disruptive changes in food retailing, and new retail formats, may affect consumer behavior?

The NWO-funded project “Food Waste: From Excess to Enough” aims to develop insights into how the food system can be transformed to minimize food waste. The project focuses specifically on retailers and consumers. The Marketing and Consumer Behavior Group (MCB) of WUR leads this project, and investigates specifically how consumers respond to changes in retail formats. Having these insights will help us determine in which direction the food system could transform to obtain a more sustainable and waste-free system. The project is interdisciplinary, at the interface between consumer behavior, marketing, and design. Partners in the project are the Delft University of Technology (industrial design) and the University of Groningen (marketing), and we collaborate with various public and private partners such as Voedingscentrum, the Foundation United Against Food Waste, Hello Fresh, and others. More information about the project can be found here:

As a PhD candidate in this project, you will uncover the responses of consumers and other stakeholders to various types of new retail concepts. Using laboratory and online experiments, you will establish consumers’ usage intention for the most promising new retail concepts, as well as relevant boundary conditions. In collaboration with a waste collector, you will quantify the effects of new retail concepts on actual household food waste.

You will work closely with partner PhD candidates at the University of Groningen (examining how to change the consumer mindset) and Delft University of Technology (developing prototypes and interventions), as well as a postdoc who will develop future-oriented visions for the food system. The PhD position is for 4 years, funded by NWO and in collaboration with various public and private partners. This offers major advantages for the PhD candidate in terms of opportunities to collect high-quality data, additional funds for travelling, and close interactions and discussions enhancing the quality and relevancy of the research projects. The project will supervised by Erica van Herpen (WUR MCB), Ellen van Loo (WUR MCB), and Jenny van Doorn (RUG).

We ask

We are looking for a member who has/is:

  • a successfully completed MSc degree related to behavioral aspects of consumer decision making (please add exam scores and a list of relevant courses). Experience in research on the retail environment is an advantage;
  • a passion for quantitative research, with an open eye to qualitative approaches that may inform the quantitative analysis;
  • a teammate, open to collaboration across scientific fields;
  • ambition to contribute to scientific progress as well as to performing societally relevant research;
  • excellent skills in communication and writing;
  • good command of English.
For the entry requirements for the PhD program see: WUR PhD programme.

We offer

You will receive a fully funded PhD (AIO) position, therefore you will be employed by the Wageningen University, where you will be offered a course program tailored to your desires and the research team.

The gross salary for the first year is € 2.325,- per month rising to € 2.972,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P). This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well. In addition, an appointment of 0.8 FTE is negotiable.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment.
We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Erica van Herpen, Associate Professor, Marketing and Consumer Behavior Group, 0317-484369 or by e-mail

General information about the Marketing and Consumer Behavior Group can be found on

This vacancy is open up to and including March 9, 2020. The first job interviews will take place on March 16, 2020. Please apply via

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With approximately 30 locations, 6.500 employees, and 12.000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.

The Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (MCB) Group is part of the department of Social Sciences of Wageningen University. The domain of the MCB group’s research program is food and agribusiness. This domain provides excellent opportunities to contribute to the knowledge in the field of marketing and consumer behaviour. It is MCB’s mission to contribute to effective food and agribusiness marketing systems to satisfy both the short term needs of customers, primary producers, and stakeholders, and the long-term (societal) viability of the system as a whole. The MCB group aims to be a leading research group in marketing and consumer behaviour in the domain of food and agribusiness. The group has established strong links with other European and US universities that also focus their marketing and consumer behaviour research in this domain.

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