There was a positive outcome of the first national lockdown of 2020: self-reported levels of food waste in the UK fell by 34%, the sharpest fall on record.
Careful food shopping and creative cooking contributed to the initial fall
A project involving researchers from Leeds Univesity and leading environmental organisations WRAP and Zero Waste Scotland. has been launched to help understand how people in the UK can continue to reduce food waste after the pandemic.
The research will examine food waste during and after lockdown periods and develop interventions to support sustainable consumer behaviour. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response fund.
Dr Gulbanu Kaptan, Associate Professor of Behavioural Decision Making at Leeds University Business School, is leading the research said:
Research published by WRAP shows significant changes in behaviour and a reduction in the self-reported level of food waste in the first national lockdown period. While we understand some of this behaviour, we want to broaden our knowledge of why the changes came about, and how we can build on this to help people prevent more food going to waste in future.
We are particularly interested in the determinants of behaviour: for instance, what impact do our emotions have on wasting food, and what are the personal goals and values around how we buy and eat food?
The team hopes these surveys will help them develop interventions to support households to waste less food.
Tom Quested, Lead Analyst at WRAP, said: We have the opportunity to learn from the considerable changes we have seen during 2020 to help support UK citizens to minimise the amount of food that they waste. The findings from the research will be used by WRAP’s teams developing behaviour-change interventions and our Love Food Hate Waste campaign.
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: When we waste food, we also waste the huge amounts of energy and associated carbon emissions from growing, transporting, refrigerating and packaging the food, and when we send wasted food to landfill this causes more harmful emissions. So, we’re looking forward to working with the University of Leeds and WRAP on this project, to better understand how to win the fight against food waste.
source : UKRD Feb 2021