Changing behaviour to reduce food waste sounds easy, but isn’t. We instinctively know wasting food is wrong, but most of us accept we do it to varying degrees. The statistics are shocking: at least one-third of global food production is wasted, enough to feed 900 million hungry mouths.
So how can we stop such waste? With any behaviour change campaign, it’s essential to first understand audiences and behaviour drivers. For WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) campaign, we found more than 60 linked causes behind food waste such as changes in lifestyle, environmental factors and food knowledge.
There is no magic bullet. Different audiences have different motivations, requiring different strategies. Busy mums who overcook to tempt kids to eat have different needs to young professionals wasting food because of last-minute meetings.
But there are some key principles to change behaviours. Firstly, it’s important to highlight the problem and how that affects people personally. For most consumers, global challenges linked to food security, energy and water are complex and remote. They don’t inspire immediate change. This is beginning to change as rising food prices hit households; the Think. Eat. Save. campaign should help.
Secondly, be clear about desired behaviour and make it easy to act. Food waste behaviours can be simplified into: “buy what you need; eat what you buy”. By focussing on achievable actions and creating a framework for grass-roots change, the LFHW campaign has prevented an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of food, worth over £2.5bn, from being wasted by UK households.
While food poverty is on the menu for many people, there’s never been a better time to act.
Belinda Miller, director of insight, Corporate Culture