After surveying 3,229 people, political science researchers at ETH in Zurich discovered that a majority would pay more for food if it would cut food waste.
Switzerland’s population is well aware that food waste is a problem. The vast majority of those surveyed regard food waste as a moral, economic and environmental problem.
Most accurately estimated the level of waste, although they typically significantly overestimated waste in catering and retail and underestimated food processing and home food waste.
25% of food related greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to wasted food. If this waste was avoided food production could be cut by a similar amount and related emissions would fall too.
The majority of the Swiss population reports already doing a lot to avoid unnecessary food waste in their own household. However, a majority considers voluntary measures at household and company levels to be inadequate.
Strong support was reported for government-funded information campaigns, greater emphasis on the subject in schools, regulations on how companies should deal with food with impending expiration dates, and a legal obligation to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.
In addition, a majority said they would be willing to accept a 10% increase in food prices to reach the 50% target.
The colossal quantity of food wasted on livestock was not covered by the study. The food grown and fed to US livestock could feed the current US population nearly 2.5 times, according to one estimate. Feeding the animals we eat requires vast areas of land and emits huge quantities of greenhouse gas that far exceed those related to food waste based on its narrow definition.
ETH study (in German)