oa Journal of Family Ecology and Consumer Sciences = Tydskrif vir Gesinsekologie en Verbruikerswetenskappe - Household food waste : a case study in Kimberley, South Africa

Volume 46 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0378-5254



Food waste relates to three major world problems: food security, greenhouse gas emissions in the food supply chain, and waste disposal. One of the key ways to achieving sustainable food security globally, is to reduce food waste. In a country such as South Africa where between 12 to 14 million people are food insecure, the reduction of the R61.5 billion worth of food waste, could play a major role in this. In order to minimise household food waste, or consumer-related food waste, it is imperative to have an understanding of the factors influencing waste-related behaviour. The study focused mainly on the reasons for and behaviour when discarding food, consequently causing food waste. Subsequent to this, the researchers also determined what type of food was wasted most. This paper reports on the results of a survey conducted in Kimberley, in the Northern Cape of South Africa. A total of 100 questionnaires were distributed and completed, from which data were analysed. Although consumers indicated that they do not waste much food (the majority wasting approximately 5%), a significant proportion indicated that excess leftover food was discarded. A lack of planning for meals was found to be prevalent. Purchasing in bulk and purchasing the incorrect products were also found to contribute significantly to food waste. In this study it has been found that bananas and apples are the fruit that were most often wasted, and tomatoes and potatoes were the most wasted vegetables. Furthermore, leftover food was identified as one of the main sources of discarded food. Alternatives for the re-use of leftover food could aid consumer reduction of food waste. Alternative practices need to be developed to educate consumers about what to do with this food. A more thorough knowledge of factors influencing behaviour and attitudes towards food waste needs to be established. Thus, culture-specific and localised interventions should be synthesised, implemented and evaluated.

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