Understanding household food waste
Shelley, William Bradley
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It is estimated that globally over 30% of the food that they purchased for consumption is wasted. This paper examines the relationship that food stores have on food waste. Using waste data from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and food store data from the USDA’s Food Environment Atlas, we attempt to develop the microeconomic theory that is at the foundation of food waste behavior. We classify food waste as rational inefficiency such that households hedge against the uncertainty of planning future meals by stocking up on food purchases. It is when this food insurance is not used that there then is food waste. We hypothesize that as the availability of food increases due to additional location of food stores, then food waste decreases because the uncertainty of planning future meals is diminished. We find empirical evidence that supports this claim.