Hoarding leads to less food waste

Hoard! One Plus One is free. Kilometer Bankers. The Dutch like to buy a lot of groceries for less money. Such purchases are often viewed critically. The idea behind this is that bulk offers – many items offered together for less money – encourage food waste.

So since 2019 there is a law in France that prohibits the offering of foods at huge discounts. A maximum discount of 34 per cent can be granted, and double pay is no longer allowed. The United Kingdom is developing similar legislation on unhealthy eating, which will come into effect this year.

But Arjen van Linn, associate professor of marketing at Tilburg University, opined that there is no solid data showing that wholesale discounts actually lead to more food waste. With a team of researchers, he followed the shopping and eating habits of Dutch families for nine weeks.

Larger doses cause greater awareness

A recently published study found the opposite: consumers who buy more food in bulk are actually more aware of it. They wasted less food than households buying groceries at normal prices.

“In our research, we found that customers who buy more groceries than they would normally buy through special offers are more aware of this larger scale,” Van Linn says. “They start thinking more about how they’re going to use the food. Or they freeze it.

Supermarkets can respond to this behavior, Van Linn says. “For example, with offers that encourage use of all products. Slogans like ‘one for now and one for the freezer’.”

The Netherlands wastes a relatively high amount of food

Globally, about 931 million tons of food is wasted each year, according to UNEP, the United Nations organization that coordinates environmental policy at regional and global levels. Nearly two-thirds of this mountain food is thrown away by households. According to figures from the European statistics agency Eurostat, the Netherlands had the sixth largest food waste in Europe in 2020, with 161 kg of food thrown away per citizen. The European average was 127 kg.

Food wastage is not only suffering, but many people still live in famine. All the energy put into food production is lost. For example, consider water, transport and packaging. Less food waste reduces unnecessary emissions.

Wan Lin thinks supermarkets can do more to improve food awareness. “For example, there are already supermarkets that are now testing the sale of frozen bread. This ensures less waste for supermarkets and consumers.

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