Food waste perceptions and reported behaviours during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ben Hassen, Tarek
El Bilali, Hamid
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An increasing corpus of data demonstrated the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food consumption habits, particularly food waste, but the Balkan area is often overlooked. Accordingly, this study investigates the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer knowledge and reported behaviours linked to food waste in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The research was based on an online survey with 2425 participants using the Google forms platform from 10 April to 10 May 2020. This period coincided with the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Consumers’ behaviours regarding where and how often they buy food, their attitude towards food labels, food provision and particularly the amounts and values of food waste and how they handle it were investigated. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics methods, and the significance of the association between variables was determined using nonparametric and multivariate statistical tests. The study’s findings revealed that (i) Bosnia has a low rate of household food waste and a favourable attitude towards food waste prevention, (ii) the majority of the respondents are familiar with the most common expiry labels, notably ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ and (iii) consumers adjusted their buying and consumption patterns due to the pandemic. The findings of this research are essential for developing evidence-based policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the post-pandemic recovery period since they are unique to that country. Indeed, the crisis’ lessons and insights may be used to help move towards more sustainable consumption habits.