This report examines and evaluates the availability and effectiveness of existing ICT-based tools and smart technologies for food management and waste reduction by consumers. It results that consumers seem to be interested in apps that help in reducing food waste, but do not perceive a clear need to use these as they think that they do not waste much food. Further, results of the study indicate that user-friendliness is a key component.
A literature search in 2018 resulted in only twelve papers that focus on the topic of apps in relation to consumers’ sustainability behaviour. The scarce evidence indicates that apps can be effective in raising consumer awareness indicated, but not much is known about the effects of using apps on food waste behaviour of consumers. Therefore, two tasks were executed: an inventory of available ICT tools and a consumer focus group study.
Inventory of ICT tools
Via an online search in 2016 & 2017, suggestions from REFRESH project partners and tools mentioned in publications, an inventory was made of existing ICT based tools for food management and waste reduction by consumers. The functionalities of these apps were analysed for the different phases of the household food logistics. The aim of this inventory was to give an overview of existing apps and examples of the diversity of functionality of the apps.
Focus Group Study
Based on the criteria of a high number of installations or novelty, three apps from this inventory were selected for use in the consumer focus group study. All apps had different features. The aim of the focus group discussion was to gain insight in how consumers experienced the use of the apps and to what extent using the apps led to a change in self-reported behaviour.
The report is a deliverable within the EU research project REFRESH, which aims to contribute to the goal of reducing food waste across Europe.
Vogels, J., Van der Haar, S., Zeinstra, G., Bos-Brouwers, H., 2018: ICT tools for food management and waste prevention at the consumer level. REFRESH Deliverable 1.5