Waste Not, Want Not - Suboptimal Food and the Grocery Shopping Practices of Sustainably-Minded Consumers
Food waste is becoming an increasingly visible environmental issue with estimations claiming that up to one third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. Grocery stores selling suboptimal food provide consumers the opportunity to purchase food that would otherwise go to waste at a decreased price, with sustainably-minded consumers being more likely than other consumer groups to purchase it. This study aims at investigating how suboptimal food enters the shopping practices of sustainably-minded consumers. The current study utilizes a practice theory approach to gain deeper insights into the shopping practices of these consumers and how suboptimal food features there. By using practice theory the importance of the elements – materials, competences, and meanings – making up the grocery shopping practices can be analyzed. The findings are based on a qualitative study conducted using participant observation in the form of go-alongs, and in-depth interviews. The findings highlight the importance of how suboptimal food is approached, pre-trip practices, and in-store practices for the purchases of suboptimal food. Furthermore, the study highlights the need for competences when it comes to purchases of suboptimal food and confidence in those competences. It also highlights the importance of the interplay between the elements of practices for suboptimal food to be a recurring and valued part of grocery shopping practices.
MSc in Marketing and Consumption