British and Thai consumer plate waste behaviour: a qualitative comparison
One-third of food produced for human consumption ends up being lost in the food supply chain. The waste of food also means wasted resources. While there are active policies to minimise food waste (FW) at the consumption level in western countries, the problem has not been highlighted in some other countries. This research aims to gain an in-depth understanding of British and Thai consumers’ comprehensive experience, expectations, and opinions about consumer plate waste (CPW) in dining situations. The method used for data collection is the focus group discussion method (FGD) assisted by the projective mapping method (PM). The quota sampling was used for equal gender and age groups. A total of four discussion groups were arranged with participants who were between 18-75 years old from various occupation backgrounds. Two were in the United Kingdom for British consumers (n=17) and the other two in Thailand for Thai consumers (n=16). The method of analysing the FGD data in this study uses the qualitative content analysis approach. The results suggest that CPW behaviour was influenced by multiple factors with complicated interactions between factors in a meal setting. In the context of meal food and FW, most British people were more concerned about behaviour in the stages of buying, planning, and cooking food before it became a meal, whereas nearly 100% of Thai participants would depend on the intrinsic quality of the food, such as taste. Place of dining had a significant impact on consumers’ FW decisions. While around 10 out of 17 UK participants would not want to take leftover food home when eating out because of social stigma, Thai participants would not mind doing so. The findings of this research shed light on consumer FW behaviour in a meal setting. Policymakers could utilise these findings to make decisions about consumer FW reduction campaigns for national food security and sustainability, particularly when adopting practices from another country. This is because of certain significant factors, what consumers are concerned about varies between countries and globalisation changes consumption patterns over time.
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