Bridging the gap between self-assessments and measured household food waste: A hybrid valuation approach

Efrat Elimelech*, Eyal Ert, Ofira Ayalon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Great effort is invested in mapping the extent of household food waste and its main determinants. However, food waste valuation remains a challenging task. Valuation methods can be divided roughly into objective measurements that are based on physical waste surveys, and subjective self-assessments that are based on diaries or questionnaires. Self-assessment methods have been more popular than food waste measurement because they are less costly. The goal of this paper is to empirically test whether self-assessments can accurately reflect objective measurement. To answer this question, we implemented a hybrid valuation approach by integrating and comparing three methods: a self-assessment questionnaire, a physical waste survey, and a food expenditure survey. Self-assessments slightly underestimated measured food waste proportion (13.7% vs. 16.3%, respectively). The results also show a positive, yet, not very strong correlation between the measures and the self-assessments of unconsumed and partly consumed avoidable food waste in most food categories. Self-assessments of monetary losses were €42.07 per household per month on average, overestimating calculated losses of €25.74 on average. Our findings question the validity of self-assessments. The current paper demonstrates the questionable nature of the implicit assumption that self-assessment reflects the true level of food waste and suggests a rigorous method for exploring this relation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalWaste Management
Volume95
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Avoidable food waste
  • Food waste assessment
  • Food waste measurement
  • Household food waste
  • Monetary losses
  • Self-reporting

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