Characteristics and determinants of domestic food waste: a representative diary study across Germany
As it is the case in many industrialized countries, household food waste accounts for a large share of total food waste in Germany. Within this study, the characteristics of edible and inedible domestic food waste, the reasons for discarding food and the potential influence of socio-demographic factors on food waste generation are assessed. A data set of 6853 households who participated in a diary study in 2016 and 2017 was analyzed by use of descriptive statistics, parametric tests, and linear regression. The results indicate that perishable products such as vegetables, fruits, and bread are mainly aected by disposal. Moreover, household food waste occurs due to quantity problems at purchase for small households and quantity problems at home for larger households and households with children. Despite statistically significant dierences in food waste amounts between household lifecycle stages, age of the head of household, household size, and size category of the municipality, socio-demographic factors have a limited power in predicting a household’s food waste level. The study has important implications for food waste policy and research regarding the issues of food waste prevention measures, quantification methodologies, and monitoring implementation.