Consumers are directly and indirectly responsible for wasting a lot of food. In Europe, it is estimated that around 25% of all food that is purchased is being thrown away in the household, that 15% of perishables is wasted before it is sold in grocery stores and that the total waste in the food value chain is on average 180 kg / capita / year.
A substantial part of this food waste can be avoided if consumers were willing to accept suboptimal foods: 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.
Examples of such foods are odd-shaped cucumbers, bread with broken crust, discoloured apples, and yoghurt and cheese past the best-before date. The aim of the COSUS project is to increase consumer acceptance of these suboptimal foods, before and after purchase, by implementing targeted strategies that are based on consumer insights.
The project also investigates the acceptability of such strategies for various actors in the food supply chain.
The project is divided into eight work packages that combine different quantitative and qualitative approaches.