Wasted positive intentions: the role of affection and abundance on household food waste
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This qualitative study, grounded theory oriented, identifies familial affection and preference for abundance as major drivers of wasted food in lower-middle income American families. These positive intentions provide an improved understanding of household food waste, a problem with high environmental impact and moral implications. Based on empirical data collected with twenty caregivers via in-depth interviews, observations, and analysis of photos, this study provides novel explanations, such as on how stockpiling comfort foods in abundance - a form of both boosting positive self-emotions and showing affection for kids - can promote more wasted food. Other antecedents identified include multiplicity of choices, convenience, procrastination and unplanned routines. In sum, this research identifies a negative outcome of affection and food abundance in the family context, while providing a theoretically relevant general framework to help understand the food waste phenomenon. Authors suggest increasing the awareness of nutritional gatekeepers through behavioral economics principles.