Assessing the effectiveness of food waste messaging

Claudia F. Nisa, Jocelyn J. Bélanger, Birga M. Scumpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food waste at the consumer level poses a global challenge for natural resources management and contributes to climate change. However, there is limited evidence regarding the best messaging strategies to fight household food waste. Here we experimentally test several food waste messages, aiming to identify the most effective strategies to promote individuals’ willingness to tackle food waste in the future. We used participants recruited via MTurk and employed a between-subjects design. Study 1 (N = 261) tested three common prompts (“reduce waste”, “don't waste” or “stop waste”) and showed that only prompts to “reduce waste” were effective. Study 2 (N = 733) tested several consequences of food waste (economic, social or environmental), with none showing a significant effect on the willingness to tackle food waste. Lastly, Study 3 (N = 1459) tested whether combining different stimuli (prompts, consequences, tips for action) would produce stronger effects, but revealed mixed results, suggesting that more information is not necessarily better to help fight food waste. Implications for policy-making and intervention are discussed. These conclusions are based on self-reported measures and thus future research should further corroborate these results in field studies with an observed food waste impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-236
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Communication strategies
  • Evidence-based intervention
  • Experiment
  • Food waste
  • Messaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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