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Food Waste, Agriculture -- Moral and ethical aspects


Eaters (consumers of food) are responsible for 60% of waste along the food cycle in developed countries. Programs that target individual and household food waste behavior change are essential to addressing such waste. School cafeterias worldwide offer an opportune microcosm in which to educate on food and nutrition skills and change related behavior. No Scrap Left Behind, a cafeteria food waste diversion program, was developed, piloted, and assessed based on measures of both direct and indirect food waste behavior, and attitudes, knowledge, and emotions related to food waste. Participants had positive attitudes towards food waste reduction, engaged in food waste diversion actions, had some knowledge of the impacts of wasted food, and considered their actions important to waste reduction generally. Food waste per student was decreased by 28% over the course of the first year of programming (p = 0.000967), and by 26% in the following year when measured a week before and a week after programming occurred (p = 0.0218). Results indicate that students were poised for food behavior change and that related programming did impact behavior in the short term. Programming may, therefore, help improve student attitudes and skills to develop long-term change as well, although future research should explore this specifically. In comparison with other research on cafeteria programming, results suggest that food waste diversion programming can positively impact students’ dispositions and behaviors, and may be more effective when tailored to the specific population.


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