COnsumers in a SUStainable food supply chain

 Innovation, Consumer and Sensory Sciences  

Reducing food waste is high on national and European political agendas. COSUS contributes to reducing food waste by targeting the consumer with strategies that will encourage consumers to accept suboptimal foods.

Time:1. June 2014 – 31. May 2017
Financed by: COSUS is part of the EU SUSFOOD ERA-Net program. The Research Counsil of Norway is the Norwegian financer
In cooperation with:Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway Wageningen University, The Netherlands Technische Universität Dresden, Germany SP Food and Bioscience (formerly SIK – the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology), Sweden MAPP – Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector, Aarhus University, Denmark

logo_cosusConsumers play a major part in producing food waste in the food value chain: it is estimated that around 25% of all food that is purchased is being thrown away, and that 15% of perishables is wasted in grocery stores because they are not accepted by consumers due to lack in product quality. This means there is a potential to significantly reduce food waste by targeting the consumer.

COSUS focuses on suboptimal food: food that deviates in sensory characteristics (odd shapes, discolourations) or that has a best-before date that is approaching or has passed, but is still perfectly fine to eat, such as odd-shaped cucumbers, bread with broken crust, discoloured apples, and yoghurt and cheese past the best-before date. Suboptimal food makes up a significant share of consumer-related food waste.

The main objectives of the project are:

  1. To understand the barriers and facilitators for acceptance of suboptimal foods
  2. To investigate how strategies that stimulate consumer acceptance of suboptimal foods can be successfully implemented into the food supply chain.
  3. To design and test strategies that promote the consumption of suboptimal foods
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