Research into the behavioural drivers of domestic food waste

We were commissioned to undertake the first stages of our research and development process, to explore what drives domestic food waste and how it contributes to households’ carbon footprints.


Every year in the UK, we throw away almost 20% of the food we buy. Of the food and drink that is wasted, over half of it is generated in the home, and of this, 60% (by weight) is deemed ‘avoidable’, as it could have been eaten at some point prior to throwing away.

Food waste is a major contribution to the domestic carbon footprint. For an average household emissions associated with food represent around 14% of the total, making it the largest single contributor– greater than either electricity or gas alone. Food waste has an unusually high potential for improvement, as a high percentage of its waste is avoidable, and research suggests there is a greater appetite and ability for personal behaviour change around food waste compared to other domestic energy saving activities.

Progress to date

We produced an Insights Report which analysed key target audiences, understanding the myriad of pressures and causes that result in food waste behaviours, exploring existing motivations to reduce food waste and identifying general user needs and desires that can be harnessed to engage a large audience in food waste prevention initiatives.

In addition, we undertook a survey of existing consumer products and services which reduce food waste, which was organised by the six stages in the domestic food cycle.


domestic food waste insights report

Insights Report: Domestic Food Waste

January 2, 2014

The scale of the issue, the main types of food wasted, key audiences, key food-wasting behaviours and the cultural context of daily decisions that cause these.

Tori Flower and Kathleen Collett

survey products food waste

Survey of Existing Consumer Products and Services which Reduce Food Waste

January 1, 2014

Report broken down by the six stages in the domestic food cycle including summary highlighting common themes and relative effectiveness, with recommendations.

Tori Flower and Kathleen Collett


infographic foodwaste

Infographic: The Truth About Food Waste

December 1, 2012

Infographic showing scale of domestic food waste and relative environmental impact of food waste and food packaging.

Tori Flower and Kate Ferrier





wrapThe Love Food Hate Waste at WRAP team contributed to our reports.

Supported by

sfctA collaboration between The Ashden Trust, JJ Charitable Trust and Mark Leonard Trust.

Do you want to get involved? We'd love to hear from you
Email me -