Waste on Impulse? Food ordering, calorie intake and waste in out-of-home consumption

Jenny van Doorn, Marit Luiting-Drijfhout and Koert van Ittersum
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
Resource type:
Peer review

The fast-growing out-of-home consumption sector is responsible for monumental food waste. At the same time, this sector is transforming and increasingly introduces pre-ordering via smartphones and mobile devices to cater to consumers’ busy lifestyles. Drawing on construal level theory, we show in two behavioral studies that acquiring food for a distant consumption moment leads to more impulsive food acquisitions and higher calorie intake. Emphasizing the (un)healthiness of food by using traffic light labels does not dampen impulsive acquisitions at the point of sale, but does help consumers to consume fewer calories at the expense of wasting more food. Our findings introduce a dilemma for managers in the out-of-home consumption section. While making it easy for consumers to change or add to their order placed in advance boosts sales, this practice leads to more calories consumed and more waste.


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This resource has been peer reviewed