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The social meaning and function of household food rituals in preventing food waste
- Revilla, Beatriz Pineda, Salet, Willem
- Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.198 pp. 320-332
- collective action, food waste, households, interviews
- Many studies have blamed consumers for their behaviors leading to food wastage, and a growing body of literature is analyzing the specific dynamics of everyday domestic food practices in terms of food waste. This study draws on these recent social practice theory studies to analyze the social meaning behind the practice of discarding food and the role that household food rituals play: (1) in shaping the social meaning of food and (2) in spurring care about food waste (and ultimately reducing the amount of food wasted). Both Q-methodology and semi-structured interviews are applied to analyze the food rituals of 21 households in an Amsterdam neighborhood. The findings show that in ten out of the 21 households analyzed household food rituals help not only to shape the meaning households give to food but also to institutionalize care about food waste, thereby contributing to the decrease of the amount of food wasted at the household level. Despite its small sample, this research contributes to enlarge the body of literature that analyzes the potential role of household food rituals in institutionalizing a change in meaning regarding food waste. Also, by combining Q-methodology with semi-structured interviews, this study explores innovative methodological avenues for practice theory research investigation of household food waste.