Lindsey Smith Taillie, Global Health Research Program faculty and UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) research fellow, and Alice Ammerman, HPDP director and Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of nutrition, have been awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to research ways to help households better prevent food waste. The project is expected to contribute to the EPA’s goal of halving U.S. household food waste.
Roughly one-third of all food produced is not consumed, leading to food waste. Food waste occurs throughout the supply chain, but about half takes place at the consumer level. This study will investigate reasons why consumers waste food and explore strategies to help households reduce and prevent food waste.
“I was shocked to learn how damaging food waste is to climate change and our environmental systems,” said Dr. Taillie. “This new EPA grant seemed like the perfect opportunity to begin working on developing solutions to reduce food waste while also promoting healthier dietary behaviors.”
Recognizing the financial impact of food waste, the researchers will also explore how reducing food waste can improve food security in low-income households.
“Food waste and food loss are major environmental, social, and economic challenges,” said Dr. Ammerman. “Preventing household food waste is critical to reducing food insecurity, maximizing the natural resources used in food production, preventing climate change, and ensuring a sustainable food supply.”
The study will explore consumer food waste across six stages: planning, shopping, storage, cooking, consumption, and disposal. In each stage, researchers will also examine attitudes toward food waste, social norms, and demographic and socioeconomic factors.
For more information, please read to the detailed media release from the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.