Local and Organic Food

Food Waste and Sustainability Concerns UniTwin Network Seminar


Thursday September 3, 2015


Economic, social and environmental impacts of food waste

L. Zepeda (University of Wisconsin, Unitwin)

This presentation is an overview of the extent of food waste and its economic, social and environmental impact worldwide but with particular emphasis on the US.

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Consumers and sustainability: Focus on food waste concern

L. Sirieix & G. Le Borgne and S. Costa (Montpellier Supagro - UMR MOISA)

Food waste is a growing issue; in Europe, around 40% of food waste (agricultural losses excluded) comes at consumer’s level. Since waste at the consumer’s level is rarely “deliberate,” we examine concerns about food waste and links with behaviors. Relying on the literature about environmental concern and socially responsible consumption, we define Consumer’s Concern for Food Waste (CCFW) and build a measurement scale. We include CCFW in a structural model, with antecedents and behavioral consequences of CCFW (purchase and domestic food practices). We find a 2-dimensional structure for CCFW; these two dimensions have distinct effects on behaviors. Antecedents such as concern about purchasing power can have more or less impact than CCFW on behaviors. We give recommendations to improve campaigns to reduce household’s food waste, and for retailers to avoid consumers’ skepticism and resistance regarding food waste.

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How to encourage a change in people’s food waste behavior? Contributions of the Foot-in-the-Door technique in a computerized context

L. Balaine (Montpellier SupAgro) & S. Costa (UMR MOISA)

Our research looks into new technologies in the binding communication field to reduce food waste within households. It suggests linking the informative approach of a classical persuasive campaign on the Internet and the Foot-in-the-Door technique. In our experiment, participants were contacted via email or Facebook post to register for a food waste reduction challenge. In the Foot-in-the-Door conditions, participants were first given information about the food waste issue in order to raise awareness and prepare them to register for the challenge. It was hypothesized that they would register more than the control group participants. Results revealed an unexpected decrease in subjects’ registration for the challenge under the Foot-in-the-Door treatment compared to the control condition. We look into reasons why the Foot-in-the-Door procedure was not effective at getting participants to register, and ways of improving the protocol.

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Offering branded remanufactured/recycled products: at what price?

L. Hamzaoui-Essoussi (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa) & J.D. Linton (Power Corporation for the Management of Technological Enterprises, University of Ottawa)

This paper investigates the impact of product category, perceived risk, and brand name on consumers' willingness to pay (WTP) for greener (recycled/remanufactured) products. Results provide an understanding on how consumers differentiate between types of products when stating their WTP. The findings suggest that WTP for greener versus branded greener or new products varies with product category. Findings show that brand does not appear to counterbalance perceived risk for printers nor cameras, but has an effect for paper, toner cartridges as well as cell phones. As the importance of brand is a function of product category and is significantly related to WTP, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must consider the value of their brand for the products they offer, and should carefully consider whether or not to make use of their brand as a part of remanufacturing/recycling strategy.

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Internal and external motivators for environmentally sound waste management

M. Teisl,1,3 C. Noblet,1,3 S. Marrinan,2 T. Blackmer,1,3 D. Grezda1 and N. Dobratiqi1 (1= School of Economics, University of Maine; 2 = North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Alaska; 3 = Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, University of Maine)

In this presentation we use regression analyses on four different survey-based data sets to examine the factors affecting recycling behavior in the State of Maine (U.S.A.). Several variables (e.g., age, education) are consistent across data sets while each data set has other variables that are unique (e.g., waste management policies for the respondents’ communities). In addition to community and demographic characteristics, we also study the effects of psychometric variables (e.g., measures of economic stress, norms etc.). Since some management policies used to incentivize increased recycling can also incentivize other positive (e.g., composting) or perverse (e.g., waste dumping on vacant land) behaviors, we examine the impacts of these policies on these behaviors as well.

Acknowledgement: Funding provided by the Maine Sustainability Solutions Initiative, National Science Foundation Grant EPS-0904155 to Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine, and the Maine Agriculture and Forest Experiment Station.

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Friday September 4, 2015


Brazilian Market Demands for Organic Products and Different Consumer Groups

J. P. Révillion, V. da Veiga Dias & A. Raisa Paiva (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul - Centro De Estudios E Pesquisa Em Agronegócios Núcleo De Estudos Em Agroecologia)

Organic agriculture as a sustainable option in a context of climate change. Limits to the development of organic food supply in Brazil. Brazilian market demands for organic products and different consumer groups. The NEA project in the south of Brasil.

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Development of a brand equity measurement scale for food labels: an international validation

F. Coderre (Université de Sherbrooke) and L. Sirieix (Montpellier SupAgro)

During the last decades, food supply chains have undergone profound transformation. They have become international and more and more intermediaries were inserted between the farmer and the consumer, making a lot more difficult for these latest to assess the quality of their food. Given the increase consumers’ concerns for food quality, a large number of food labels have been developed. With proliferation of food labels, it becomes important to measure brand equity of food labels. On the one hand, such measure will guide owners of food labels in developing their marketing strategies and, on the other hand, it will assist food processors in selecting the most appropriate label for promoting their brand. Although there are various measures of brand equity for conventional brands, these measures are not adapted for food labels: either they don’t account for important dimensions in consumers’ evaluation of food labels, or they include dimensions that are not relevant. The purpose of this research is to develop a measure of brand equity for food labels using Churchill paradigm for developing measures. The presentation will describe the three steps approach used: items generation, purification of the instrument and estimation of the reliability and validity in an international context.

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The Challenge of Weed Resistance to Herbicides in US Agriculture

R. Jussaume (Michigan State University)

In the U.S., the development of a technology package that combined the use of Glyphosate with corn/soybean/cotton genetics developed through advanced genetic modification procedures enabled the development of a weed management system that was simple. This technology package reduced the need for tillage, scouting, and other time-and-labor intensive weed management practices, as well as reduced economic costs for farmers.. The ease, affordability, and relative safety of glyphosate encouraged a simplified weed management system. However, the resulting overuse of this package has led to a decrease in the effectiveness of glyphosate for weed control. Indeed, the case of overuse of glyphosate is just one example of how weeds and insects have responded to the overuse of agro-chemical tools. In addition to the chemical and biological problems, there are several social problems. Given the ease and effectiveness of glyphosate in the past, many growers are stuck in an ontology that focuses on a continual perceived need to reduce time, labor, and financial inputs in order to increase profitability. This may act as a barrier that makes it difficult for farmers to conceptualize and implement more integrated management approaches. However, growers are also experiencing significant dissonance regarding their desire for a new “magic bullet” herbicide. There is recognition that even were a ‘new glyphosate’ to be developed, it would have the potential to develop resistance problems. Many growers therefore recognize that a more complex weed management program may be a necessity, yet their ontology and history with glyphosate, as well as structural conditions, prevent them from fully articulating or adopting such a program. My presentation describes ongoing research that is examining these struggles Our empirical focus are growers who produce corn, soybeans and cotton.

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The Empowerment Potential in Value-Added Agriculture

W. Wright (Michigan State University)

While the number of farm women in the U.S. is growing, less clear is whether increasing roles in such multifaceted production systems translate into improved empowerment opportunities. Are invisibility and disempowerment lingering expressions of farm women’s experience in late capitalism as captured in earlier data? Using qualitative data drawn from 32 interviews with Michigan value-added farmers, we examine the extent to which women have been able to experience empowerment free from the constraints of patriarchy, heterosexism and agrarian ideology. We adopt a conceptualization of empowerment from the development scholarship in order to establish a baseline for scrutiny, viewing empowerment as a multi-dimensional process constituting the ‘power to’ realize one’s goals, the opportunity to exercise ‘power with’ others, and the ability to find and nurture ‘power within’ the self. Our findings indicate that opportunities for these various types of power are unevenly realized and are frequently diluted or thwarted by the actions of farm women themselves. This calls into question the emancipatory potential specifically of value-added agriculture, as well as its more general social sustainability value.

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Trust orientations in the organic food market: a complementary approach based on distributors, certification organizations and consumers’ perspectives

L. Hamzaoui-Essoussi (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa), L. Sirieix (Montpellier SupAgro) & M. Zahaf (Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa)

The objective of this research is to identify and analyze factors from the demand and supply sides that determine trust/mistrust in organic food (OF) products, and determine the relationship between OF distribution channels and institutional strategies, and consumers’ trust orientations and variations. A total of 80 individual in-depth interviews were conducted with managers from superstores, specialty stores, farmers, markets, producers and certification bodies; and 1394 respondents participated to a survey, in Canada and France. Findings from the interviews show a clear distinction between the Canadian and French OF distribution structures in terms of trust, and the distributors’ adapted strategies and tools in order to enhance trust in OF, distribution channels and the food supply chain. Some preliminary findings from the consumers’ study are also presented.

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Consumer perceptions of food waste: Does information matter?

L. Zepeda (University of Wisconsin, Unitwin) and L. Balaine (Montpellier SupAgro)

We use random treatment assignment to investigate consumers’ perceptions of food waste and how they vary by quantity and type of food wasted. Consumers are asked to rank the wastefulness of pairs of photos of food to be thrown out, to estimate the cost of the food, and to explain their choices The treatments allow us to investigate the impact of written, visual or no information about food waste on perceptions. Subjects will answer a questionnaire before and after going through an information treatment as well as questions about food practices and socio-demographic characteristics. We find video information has a small significant impact on food waste perceptions, but written information is not significantly different than providing no information.

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