This report aims to consolidate existing and new consumer understandings at the in-home level into a research framework and methodology that allows comparison across countries. The report contains the REFRESH best practice to measure household level food waste.
One of the important objectives within REFRESH is to develop practical and easy to implement approaches for food waste measurement at different stages of the consumption life cycle.
REFRESH researchers have conducted an extensive research to identify an appropriate measurement approach to quantify food waste at different stages of the consumption life cycle at home. It includes an extensive review of the scientific literature, a review of expert practitioners’ views, and two pilot studies that were instrumental to the development of a measurement method.
One might argue that to measure food waste and gain insights into why it is generated, "waste composition analysis" could serve as a golden standard. However, such an approach is impractical across larger samples (Lebensorger & Schneider 2011). Prior scientific research has provided suggestions for the development of practical measures, including ICT tools, surveys, diaries and combinations of these (Langley et al. 2010), without necessarily reaching consensus on their validity and practicality in large scale household level applications.
In the main study, key approaches to food waste measurement in the household (i.e., a survey on general food waste, kitchen caddies, food waste diaries, photograph coding, and a specific pre-announced survey on measurement of overall waste per food category in the past week) were systematically compared to assess their validity. The findings of this research are reported in Van Herpen et al. (2016), “Consumption life cycle contributions; assessment of practical methodologies for in-home food waste measurement”.
The report is part of the work package that focuses on consumer behaviours related to food waste.
Van Herpen, Erica, Ivo van der Lans, Mariska Nijenhuis-de Vries, Nancy Holthuysen and Stefanie Kremer, 2016, “Best practice assessment consumer level food waste”, Report of the EU project REFRESH.