Food for Naught: Using the Theory of Planned Behaviour to Better Understand Household Food Wasting Behaviour

Authors: Paul van der Werf*, Western University, Jamie Seabrook, Brescia University College at Western University, Jason Gilliland, Western University
Topics: Behavioral Geography
Keywords: Household food waste, Theory of Planned Behavior, Household survey
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Astor Ballroom II, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


It is estimated that households in London, Ontario, Canada dispose 125 kg of avoidable food waste annually. A household survey, using the Theory of Planned Behavior, as its basis, was used to better understand this behavior and inform future intervention development. Respondents (n=1,263) threw out avoidable food 4.8 times/week (SD=4.8, Mdn=4.0) and 5.9 food portions/week (SD=5.7, Mdn=4.0). When asked to choose one of three possible motivators to reduce food wasting behavior, 58.9% selected reducing monetary loss as their first choice, versus 23.9% reducing environmental impact and 17.2% reducing social impacts. Perceived behavioral control (rs=0.57, p=0.01) and personal norms (rs=0.54, p=0.01) were strongly correlated with intention to avoid food waste. A linear hierarchical regression analysis (R2=0.30, p<0.001) on intention to avoid food waste further demonstrated that perceived behavioral control (p<0.001) and personal norms (p<0.001) had the greatest positive impact on intention. The intention to avoid food waste (rs=-0.51, p=0.01) and perceived behavioral control (rs=-0.57, p=0.01) were strongly negatively correlated with self-reported food wasting behavior. A linear hierarchical regression analysis (R2=0.32, p<0.001) on self-reported food behavior showed that perceived behavioral control (p<0.001) and personal attitudes (p<0.01) resulted in less food wasting behavior, while more children in a household (p<0.01) resulted in more food wasting behavior. Interventions that seek to strengthen perceived behavioral control and convey the monetary impact of food waste could help reduce its disposal.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login