Demand-side interventions for sustainable food systems: A meta-analysis of food-policy interventions targeting food consumption and waste behaviours

57 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2024

See all articles by Paul M. Lohmann

Paul M. Lohmann

Cambridge Judge Business School, El-Erian Institute

Alice Pizzo

Copenhagen Business School

Jan Michael Bauer

Copenhagen Business School

Tarun M. Khanna

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Lucia A. Reisch

El-Erian Institute for Behavioural Economics and Policy; Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication

Date Written: April 30, 2024

Abstract

Shifting consumers towards more sustainable food consumption and avoiding food waste have been identified as key levers to mitigate climate change. Here, we use a rigorous, machine-learning-assisted systematic review and meta-analysis to comparatively assess the effectiveness of demand-side interventions targeting actual (or incentivised) food consumption and waste behaviours of individuals and households. Based on 209 effect sizes comprising over 4.5 million observations, we find a small overall effect size across all food-consumption interventions (z = 0.15) and a small to medium effect size for food-waste interventions (z = 0.20). When accounting for moderate publication bias, these estimates are reduced to 0.10 and 0.18. In both domains, structural choice-architecture interventions prove equally if not more effective than incentives. Sensitivity analysis reveals significant variability in effect sizes in the existing evidence base and underscores the necessity for future research to systematically uncover the factors determining when, how and why interventions are effective.

Keywords: meta-analysis, evidence synthesis, demand-side interventions, food policy, food waste, sustainable food consumption, behaviour change

Suggested Citation

Lohmann, Paul and Pizzo, Alice and Bauer, Jan Michael and Khanna, Tarun and Reisch, Lucia A., Demand-side interventions for sustainable food systems: A meta-analysis of food-policy interventions targeting food consumption and waste behaviours (April 30, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4811931 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4811931

Paul Lohmann (Contact Author)

Cambridge Judge Business School, El-Erian Institute ( email )

Trumpington Rd 25
Cambridge
Great Britain

Alice Pizzo

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Jan Michael Bauer

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Tarun Khanna

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Lucia A. Reisch

El-Erian Institute for Behavioural Economics and Policy ( email )

Trumpington Rd 25
Cambridge
Great Britain

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

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