Estimating Household Food Waste Using Food Acquisition Data

43 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2018

See all articles by Yang Yu

Yang Yu

Pennsylvania State University, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education

Edward C. Jaenicke

College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Date Written: April 27, 2018

Abstract

Measuring food waste at the individual household level has been nearly impossible because comprehensive, current data on uneaten food do not exist. Using only food acquisition data, this article employs a new approach to estimating household-level food waste via a stochastic production frontier model in which food waste is identified as input inefficiency. For households in our data, the average household wastes 31.9% of the food it buys, and this figure, using survey weights, translates to annual U.S. consumer-level food waste valued at $240 billion. In addition, by accommodating heterogeneous wasting behavior, we find that healthier diets and higher income lead to more household food waste, whereas increased household food insecurity, SNAP participation, and larger household sizes are associated with less food waste.

Keywords: food waste, Stochastic frontier, Household production

JEL Classification: D12, D13, Q18

Suggested Citation

Yu, Yang and Jaenicke, Edward C., Estimating Household Food Waste Using Food Acquisition Data (April 27, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3257535 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3257535

Yang Yu (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

Edward C. Jaenicke

College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

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