Surely you don’t eat parsnip skins? Categorising the edibility of food waste

Published on Aug 1, 2019in Resources Conservation and Recycling7.04
· DOI :10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.03.004
Miranda J. Nicholes , T. Quested3
Estimated H-index: 3
+ 2 AuthorsAndrew D. Parry
Abstract Food that is either wasted or lost, rather than being eaten, accounts for around a third of global food production and is linked to several environmental, economic and social issues. The reliable quantification of this wasted food is essential to monitor progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which covers food loss and waste. Currently quantification of food waste is made difficult by many differing definitions, some of which require categorisation of food items into those parts considered edible and those considered inedible. Edibility is difficult to define as it is affected by cultural and social influences. This study presents a novel, easily-replicable, questionnaire-based methodology to categorise ‘borderline’ food items thrown away from households, e.g. parsnip skin, apple cores. The methodology captures self-reported information on what people eat (self-reported consumption) and their perceptions of edibility. Our results for the United Kingdom indicate that, for a given food ‘part’, there is divergence between individuals’ responses to the survey questions: e.g. many people would ‘never’ eat carrot skins, whilst many others would ‘always’ eat them. Furthermore, there is a systematic difference between people’s self-reported consumption and their perceptions of edibility. We suggest that both need to be considered to create a balanced categorisation of edible and inedible parts; we propose a method for incorporating both elements. Within this method, a threshold needs to be applied and the resultant classification, especially of those items close to this threshold, will inevitably be contentious. Despite this, the categorisation of what is considered edible using this methodology reflects the views of the majority of the population, facilitating the quantification of food waste. In addition, we envisage this methodology can be used to compare geographical differences and track changes over time with regard to edibility.
  • References (14)
  • Citations (0)
#1Sabrina Stöckli (University of Bern)H-Index: 4
#2Eva Simona Niklaus (University of Bern)H-Index: 1
Last.Michael Hans Dorn (University of Bern)H-Index: 2
view all 3 authors...
#1Karin Schanes (WU: Vienna University of Economics and Business)H-Index: 3
#2Karin Dobernig (University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt)H-Index: 3
Last.Burcu Gözet (WU: Vienna University of Economics and Business)H-Index: 1
view all 3 authors...
#1Simona Romani (Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli)H-Index: 16
#2Silvia Grappi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)H-Index: 14
Last.Ada Maria Barone (Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli)H-Index: 1
view all 4 authors...
#1Violeta Stancu (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 3
#2Liisa Lähteenmäki (AU: Aarhus University)H-Index: 20
#1Marie Hebrok (HiOA: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)H-Index: 4
#2Casparus Burghardus Boks (NTNU: Norwegian University of Science and Technology)H-Index: 2
#1Gustavo Porpino (Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária)H-Index: 3
#1Åsa StenmarckH-Index: 7
#2Carl JensenH-Index: 3
Last.Karin ÖstergrenH-Index: 16
view all 15 authors...
Cited By0
View next paperThe potential of food preservation to reduce food waste.