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Consumer associations about other buyers of suboptimal food – And what it means for food waste avoidance actions
Aarhus University, Denmark.
Aarhus University, Denmark.
Wageningen University, Netherlands.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Bioeconomy and Health, Material and Surface Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0408-3910
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2020 (English)In: Food Quality and Preference, ISSN 0950-3293, E-ISSN 1873-6343, Vol. 80, article id 103808Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One approach to tackling the imminent sustainability problem of food waste is to sell suboptimal food which otherwise might be wasted. However, understanding how the action of buying price-reduced suboptimal food is influenced by the fact that the consumer purchases it publicly while observed by others is yet unexplored. The present research investigates which associations consumers form when they see other consumers purchasing suboptimal foods. In an online experimental survey, consumers of five European countries checked every word that applied (CATA) from a set of items that described what choosing a food item told them about an acquaintance they met in the store in terms of his or her traits. The food item was optimal or suboptimal, fresh or packaged food, and presented with a communication that either underlined a budget saving benefit or a contribution to avoiding food waste. Results show that consumers of suboptimal products are regarded as economic and thrifty, as well as frugal and environmentally concerned. The associations with consumers of optimal products are more diverse, and include both positive and negative wordings, ranging from successful to fussy and inattentive. Consumers’ own level of environmental concerns and value consciousness explain the degree to which they perceive another consumer to have similar traits, revealing that consumers project their own traits on others. Findings imply that stores offering suboptimal food should present and communicate the items in line with the characteristics of the store's target group, and that suboptimal food choices can trigger positive associations. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2020. Vol. 80, article id 103808
Keywords [en]
Association, Communication, Food waste, Identity, Norms, Suboptimal food
National Category
Natural Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-43393DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103808Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85073221738OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-43393DiVA, id: diva2:1390354
Available from: 2020-01-31 Created: 2020-01-31 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Normann, Anne

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