Household food waste quantification: comparison of two methods

Delley, Mathilde; Brunner, Thomas (2018). Household food waste quantification: comparison of two methods British Food Journal, 120(7), pp. 1504-1515. Emerald 10.1108/BFJ-09-2017-0486

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to quantify household food waste by using two different methods. A comparison of the results highlights a divergence between the perceived contribution to the problem and more objective measurements. Design/methodology/approach: Self-reported quantities, collected by means of a postal survey sent out to a random sample of the French- and German-speaking Swiss population, were compared to extrapolations from a national waste compositional analysis report. Findings: The results of the self-reported survey showed 8.9 kg of avoidable and possibly avoidable household food waste per capita per year, whereas calculations based on the second method resulted in a total of 89.4 kg of mostly avoidable household food waste per capita per year. Research limitations/implications: This striking tenfold discrepancy between the two sets of results highlights the extent of under-reporting in self-assessment and speaks in favour of using more objective methods to quantify food waste, building on the example of the second method used in this study. Practical implications: The discrepancy highlighted here could be used as a hook in an awarenessraising campaign to highlight everyone’s contribution to the food waste issue and encourage citizens to reconsider their behaviour and adopt recommended behavioural changes. Originality/value: By highlighting the divergence between self-reported and actual waste management facts and figures, this paper justifies the need to develop measures to encourage citizens to reconsider their attitudes and practices.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Consumer-focused Food Production


Delley, Mathilde and
Brunner, Thomas0000-0002-6770-6548


H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)








Thomas Brunner

Date Deposited:

11 Sep 2019 13:35

Last Modified:

18 Mar 2022 08:39

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Quantification, Household food waste, Comparison of methods, Self-reporting, Under-reporting, Waste compositional analysis




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