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Behavioural change strategy - The case of food surplus redistribution

The aim of SavingFood is to engage existing and potential donors, volunteers and charities in Greece, Hungary, the UK and Belgium in the food surplus activities SavingFood will organise in order to redistribute surplus food to people in need of food. In order to facilitate and support the engagement of these actors, SavingFood has designed a behavioural change strategy that will accompany the launch of the platform in the four pilot countries.

Taking inspiration from Social Marketing (Kottler & Lee, 2013), Community Based Social Marketing (McKenzie-Mohr) and an expansion of DEFRA’s 4E-model (Defra, Bamburst) as well as building upon the insights from a survey in the target populations in Hungary, Belgium, UK and Greece, the SavingFood behavioural change strategy will implement various offline and online interventions that target different dimensions that form a pre-condition for engaging in food surplus behaviour: knowledge and information, attitude and opinions, motivation and rewards, social norms and perceived or existing barriers to act. Together, these interventions will work as a kind of catalyst towards the desired behaviour for each target group in the case of food surplus redistribution. We highlight here some of these interventions. With respect to knowledge and attitude formation towards the issue of food waste, the potential of food surplus redistribution and how one can act via SavingFood, 10 motivational video’s will be distributed via online channels in the pilot countries and a number of awareness raising events will be organised where people can meet the local food redistribution organisations and participating donors, volunteers and charities as well as see concrete results. For food donors specifically, for which financial motives are sometimes a reason for not donating surplus food, the project designed a food waste calculator that allows owners of a restaurant, a supermarket or a shop to easily calculate how much money he would actually save by joining SavingFood and by doing so, how much CO2 emission he avoided. The platform itself, co-designed with current actors active in the field of food redistribution, is a second major kind of intervention that aims to remove current practical barriers with which many actors today are struggling. For example, by enabling food donors to describe their donation in terms of type of food and quantity and by giving charities the opportunity to describe their exact food needs, matching offer and demand of food surplus can be done in a more efficient way. Notifications about crucial actions in the process of food surplus redistribution, another characteristic of the platform, will for example allow volunteers to be reminded of food saving activities they registered for while the pilot coordinator can follow the status of the food surplus transaction and based upon that information intervene in case of any problems with the donation. Finally, in the case of gleaning, a carpooling module respond to the practical problem that many volunteers have transport problems to reach the farm where the leftover crops will be harvested. By monitoring all these transactions, the platform also plays a role in awareness creation in wider country and in the encouragement of participants. With respect to the former, the total amount of food registered and the number of participants displayed on a map can immediately show the effectiveness of the solution to the outside world and specifically to policy makers and other stakeholders that can implement measures that can facilitate food surplus redistribution. What concerns encouragement we can underline two benefits of our projects to influence behaviour. The registration of donations and transactions allows on the one hand donors and volunteers to immediately see the beneficial impact of their actions, hence supporting their engagement. On the other hand, a badge system that will make use of data of food saving participation, will allow the SavingFood coordinator to reward participants and hence incentive them to continue acting. As a final intervention, we highlight here the role of our SavingFood Ambassadors. They will play the role of block leaders in the local communities and hence perform various roles to help making participation in food surplus redistribution a new social norm in the pilot communities. Visit:


behaviour, engagement strategy, social marketing, surplus redistribution


Belgium, Greece, Hungary, United Kingdom