The COVID-19 outbreak forced national governments to the adoption of social distancing and movement limitation measures aimed to reduce the diffusion of the virus and to mitigate its highly disruptive impact on the healthcare systems. Reduced income, job insecurity, distribution system interruptions, product shortages, localized price hikes, and time availability resulted in changes in food-related behaviors of households, including food waste generation. Although the significant progress achieved in the understanding of the multidimensional determinants of food losses and waste, no study has been considering the role of uncertainty generated by exogenous generalized shocks on consumer behavior. Building on an original and nationally representative survey, this work aims to investigate the impact of the measures introduced to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 on the main behavioral factors underpinning household food waste generation. The study develops a theoretical model introducing uncertainty validated through a Structural Equations Modelling approach. Results showed that during the quarantine period declared household food waste decreased, with more than half of the respondents reporting to waste less. The model suggested that the amount of material and non-material resources that consumers can dedicate to food-related activities represents the most influential factor for the generation of household food waste and that uncertainty is significantly affecting the drivers and indirectly influencing the self-declared values of food waste. Results suggest several potential policy implications, of which the most relevant being related to the importance of stimulating improvements in food management opportunities at home.

Does the COVID-19 external shock matter on household food waste? The impact of social distancing measures during the lockdown

Vittuari, Matteo;Masotti, Matteo;Iori, Elisa;Falasconi, Luca;Gallina Toschi, Tullia;Segrè, Andrea
2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 outbreak forced national governments to the adoption of social distancing and movement limitation measures aimed to reduce the diffusion of the virus and to mitigate its highly disruptive impact on the healthcare systems. Reduced income, job insecurity, distribution system interruptions, product shortages, localized price hikes, and time availability resulted in changes in food-related behaviors of households, including food waste generation. Although the significant progress achieved in the understanding of the multidimensional determinants of food losses and waste, no study has been considering the role of uncertainty generated by exogenous generalized shocks on consumer behavior. Building on an original and nationally representative survey, this work aims to investigate the impact of the measures introduced to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 on the main behavioral factors underpinning household food waste generation. The study develops a theoretical model introducing uncertainty validated through a Structural Equations Modelling approach. Results showed that during the quarantine period declared household food waste decreased, with more than half of the respondents reporting to waste less. The model suggested that the amount of material and non-material resources that consumers can dedicate to food-related activities represents the most influential factor for the generation of household food waste and that uncertainty is significantly affecting the drivers and indirectly influencing the self-declared values of food waste. Results suggest several potential policy implications, of which the most relevant being related to the importance of stimulating improvements in food management opportunities at home.
RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING
Vittuari, Matteo; Masotti, Matteo; Iori, Elisa; Falasconi, Luca; Gallina Toschi, Tullia; Segrè, Andrea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/829662
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