Does Cash Really Mean Trash? An Empirical Investigation Into the Effect of Retailer Price Promotions on Household Food Waste

89 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020 Last revised: 11 Apr 2023

See all articles by Arjen van Lin

Arjen van Lin

Tilburg University

Aylin Aydinli

VU Amsterdam

Marco Bertini

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Erica van Herpen

Wageningen University

Julia von Schuckmann

ESADE - Ramon Llull University

Date Written: February 27, 2023

Abstract

Retailer price promotions, and in particular multi-unit deals such as the ubiquitous “buy one, get one,” are often criticized as a cause of food waste, presumably because they lure households into buying more than they can realistically consume. In this research, the authors combine field data and experiments to provide the first systematic test of this claim. The field data, which span eight frequently purchased perishable foods, show no evidence of a positive relationship between single-unit or multi-unit price promotions and food waste. In fact, households that took advantage of a multi-unit deal reported wasting less than did households paying regular prices, but only when the purchase quantity associated with that promotion was larger than usual. Given this result, and the fact that households also reported consuming and freezing more, the authors hypothesize that promotion-induced overbuying triggers a concern for food waste, which in turn encourages waste prevention. The first experiment provides support for this mechanism. A second experiment shows that the link between multi-unit deals and food waste concerns is moderated by perishability and versatility but is unaffected by convenience and healthiness. In closing, the authors outline the contributions of the research and suggest ideas for future studies.

Keywords: household food waste, price promotion, multi-unit deals, waste aversion, overbuying

Suggested Citation

van Lin, Arjen and Aydinli, Aylin and Bertini, Marco and van Herpen, Erica and von Schuckmann, Julia, Does Cash Really Mean Trash? An Empirical Investigation Into the Effect of Retailer Price Promotions on Household Food Waste (February 27, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3653259 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3653259

Arjen Van Lin (Contact Author)

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Aylin Aydinli

VU Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.feweb.vu.nl/en/departments-and-institutes/marketing/staff/aydinli/index.aspx

Marco Bertini

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Erica Van Herpen

Wageningen University ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

Julia Von Schuckmann

ESADE - Ramon Llull University ( email )

Avinguda de la Torre Blanca, 59
Sant Cugat de Valles, 08172
Spain

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