University Student's Opinion on Food Waste

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An outline of research project is exhibited in this part. The aim of this study is to examine the relative impact of moral attitudes, lack of concern, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control on intention to reduce food waste and also to describe consumers’ food planning and consumption. This chapter started with the background of study, followed by problem statement, research objectives and significance of study respectively.

Background Of Study

Food loss and waste problems are getting greater worldwide attention. Food wastage is happening across the entire supply chain. For example, agricultural production, postharvest storage and handling, and consumer use are the primary sources of food loss and waste (Food Waste, 2015). Food waste can be depicted as all eatable sustenance materials delivered for human utilization however left uneaten, either lost or disposed of all through the food supply chain, from ranch to fork. Wasted food is a significant part of the world’s nourishment system challenge. (Chen, Jiang, Yang, Man, 2017). Roughly 11% of the worldwide populace is undernourished. In the meantime, 33% of sustenance created for human utilization is squandered, which equivalents to roughly 1.3 billion tons (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2015). In Southeast Asia, it is assessed that 33% of nourishment is squandered in the district (Yang et al., 2016). It was accounted for that in average a family unit in Malaysia discard around 0.5-0.8kg uneaten nourishment every day (Chien Bong et al., 2016). This issue is relied upon to increment in a couple of years while comparing to financial advancement, populace development, and urbanization as Malaysia’s populace is required to achieve 33.4 million by year 2020 and 37.4 million by year 2030 which can lead to more food waste. Figure 1 demonstrates worldwide nourishment wastage in the utilization stage (retailers and customers) as per the locales revealed by FAO (2015).

Problem Statement

In Malaysia from 29,000 tons of total solid waste created in a day, about 45% of it consist of food waste. The estimated expanding population which is exceeding 28 million people by 2020, can contribute to enormous solid waste increment which is about 30,000 tons within a day (National Solid Waste Management Department, 2013). For now, it is studied that the rate of food waste reuse and recycle is relatively low (5%) when compared to plastic (15%) and paper (60%) (Moh Manaf, 2014). In our country, there is no specified way for a proper food waste disposal as there is for both paper and plastic. Therefore, food waste partition is restricted and treating the food waste is not emphasized at bigger scale in Malaysia (Moh Manaf, 2014)

On the other side, Malaysians nowadays have less awareness and understanding about the environmental issue. In reality, the food waste we create every day has a lot of adverse effect on the environment. Food waste will affect stink, climate, water, soil and biodiversity (Chang Mohd Zahari, 2015).

In addition, consumers are one of the biggest wellsprings of preventable food waste in developed nations, with over 60% of their waste considered avoidable (Gunders et al., 2017; Quested, Parry, Easteal, Swannell, 2011). Waste at the customer stage often takes the form of plate waste, but it can also include food that is discarded owing to other factors such as spoilage owing to bad planning or surplus purchases (Buzby et al., 2014; Gunders et al., 2017). Consumer’s level on waste frequently takes deterioration from lack of planning or overabundance buys because of impulsive purchasing or purchasing in mass (Gunders et al., 2017). A few clarifications for consumer sustenance squander are absence of connection among people and their food (Aschemann-Witzel, de Hooge, Amani, Bech-Larsen, Oostindjer, 2015); disarray over date labels (Gunders et al., 2017; Wilson, Rickard, Saputo, Ho, 2017); and minimal effort of squandering food (Gunders et al., 2017; Lusk Ellison, 2017).

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In a recent research it shows age is negatively associated with wasteful food habits at the consumer level, and young adults with a age range from 18- 25 years old are one of the highest wasteful populations (Ellison Lusk, 2018; Quested et al., 2013; Secondi, Principato, Laureti, 2015; Stancu, Haugaard, Lähteenmäki, 2016; Stefan, van Herpen, Tudoran, Lähteenmäki, 2013; Thyberg Tonjes, 2016). This may be due to inherent psychological variations in this age group (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015). In particular, the behavior of younger people in food waste can be affected by higher rates of spontaneity, alignment with comfort, restricted knowledge in food management, and how trade-offs are managed (Aschemann-Witzel et al., 2015).

Notwithstanding these difficulties, counteractive action at the individual level has been distinguished as the most dominant approaches to decrease food waste (ReFED, 2016). Thus, a good understanding of factors that contributes to the number of food waste generated by students is crucial. In response of expanding the consciousness of the food waste issue, the quantity of studies that inspect food waste has expanded over the previous years (Porpino, 2016). Yet research specifically on university students’ actual behavior on food waste is lesser. So, this study is especially on university students, as they are the next generation of change-makers and also to study their intentions and actual behavior towards food waste.

Significance of Study

By conducting research on this topic, it allows us to understand university students’ actual behavior towards food waste in relation to their food planning and consumption. These allow us to understand more on their intentions to waste food, where relevant institution or authorities can put more focus on developing food waste reduction and can come with a solution on managing food waste through food recycling program.

Findings from the research also can be used in the university to assist build a food-waste awareness campaign. The easiest way is to educate this campaign is by knowing what motivates learners to waste first. So, to ensure by designing instructional materials that make sense for what this age group thinks about food waste. Thus, from this give them feedback. Next, the academicians can use the data or information gathered from the research to educate university students on handling food waste in a proper way.

It is therefore crucial, as mentioned by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2012), to instill environmental and social awareness at a young era in order to safeguard the environment and create a more sustainable society.


An overview of the research study was summarized in this chapter. This chapter was used as a foundation and introduction of the research. Each and every parts of this chapter: background of study, followed by problem statement, research objectives and significance of study together with the chapter layout for each chapter were clearly explained in this chapter.

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