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Bin it or bite it? An investigation into British and Thai consumer plate waste behaviour

Pinpart, P. (2020) Bin it or bite it? An investigation into British and Thai consumer plate waste behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00096795


To tackle a problem of food waste (FW), a better understanding of consumer food waste (CFW) behaviour is essential. This thesis aims to investigate CFW behaviour in meal settings by comparing British and Thai consumers with the focus on their decision to save leftover food. This thesis highlights five key factors; commensality, place of dining, food price, the amount of leftover food, and future meal planning. The research is based on three projects. First, we conducted in-depth interviews with 20 Thai food service providers to gain an understanding of the CFW situation in Thailand. Results from this study show that consumers left food uneaten in a restaurant due to demographic factors, food satisfaction, over-ordering, hunger status, and food safety concerns. However, some consumers adjusted their food (e.g. amount, taste, and ingredients added into dishes) and asked for leftovers food to be taken away to prevent plate waste. Second, an online survey provided quantitative data from 208 British participants and 209 Thai participants. The results show that cost is a significant factor affecting CFW decisions for both British and Thai consumers. While the place of dining is an important factor for the British, it is not for the Thais. The interaction effect between factors of commensality and amount of leftover has a significant effect on British consumers plate waste decision whereas it is the interaction between the commensality factor and the place of dining that significantly affect Thai consumers. Third, a qualitative method using focus group discussion technique was carried out to gain in-depth opinions and experience from consumers from both countries. The results proved that consumers tend to save more expensive food, British consumers have higher self-conscious when dining out in a restaurant and tend not to ask for a doggy bag for their leftovers but it would depend on the amount of the leftovers. Moreover, we also found a complex connection of factors affecting CFW decisions. This thesis concludes that food cost has a significant effect on all consumers whereas the place of dining only affects British consumers. The commensality is significant when being considered with the amount of food remaining for British and with the place of dining for Thai consumers. We hope to provide information for policymakers and stakeholders to solve the problems of CFW.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Asioli, D., Balcombe, K., Georgantzis, N. and Bardsley, N.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:96795


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