COVID-19-related changes in perceived household food waste in the united states: A cross-sectional descriptive study

Kelly Cosgrove, Maricarmen Vizcaino, Christopher Wharton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Food waste contributes to adverse environmental and economic outcomes, and substantial food waste occurs at the household level in the US. This study explored perceived household food waste changes during the COVID-19 pandemic and related factors. A total of 946 survey responses from primary household food purchasers were analyzed. Demographic, COVID-19-related household change, and household food waste data were collected in October 2020. Wilcoxon signed-rank was used to assess differences in perceived food waste. A hierarchical binomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to examine whether COVID-19-related lifestyle disruptions and food-related behavior changes increased the likelihood of household food waste. A binomial logistic regression was conducted to explore the contribution of different food groups to the likelihood of increased food waste. Perceived food waste, assessed as the estimated percent of food wasted, decreased significantly during the pandemic (z = −7.47, p < 0.001). Food stockpiling was identified as a predictor of increased overall food waste during the pandemic, and wasting fresh vegetables and frozen foods increased the odds of increased food waste. The results indicate the need to provide education and resources related to food stockpiling and the management of specific food groups during periods of disruption to reduce food waste.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1104
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Food waste
  • Household
  • Sustainability
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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