Report: A quantitative and qualitative study of retail food waste in NZ

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, January 2018

Background: With an estimated one-third of the global food supply going to waste, it is crucial that the quantity of wasted food is reduced. Target 12.3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aims to halve per capita global food waste at retail and household levels by 2030.  Three steps have been suggested to achieve this goal: target, measure, and act. Measurement of food waste is necessary in understanding the scale of the problem and to identify areas for intervention.  Little is known about the quantity of food wasted in the retail sector, and there is no publicly available data for New Zealand. In order to ‘act’, barriers to food waste reduction need to be overcome.  Gaining insight into what motivates retail staff to reduce food waste and the barriers that prevent reduction is an important step to inform targeted interventions that will reduce retail food waste.

Objective: To measure the quantity of retail food waste in New Zealand, to identify key motivators and barriers for retail food waste reduction, and to draw comparisons to data on food waste collected by New Zealand retailers.

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Food waste hierarchy