Examining consumer food waste through grocery retailers’ customer data: Segments and practical implications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Grocery retailers have a large amount of societally relevant data on food purchases in their databases, which they have traditionally used merely for marketing purposes. However, despite the potential, the data have so far been rarely used in sustainability-related research. This study addresses a key sustainability challenge—the reduction of food waste—by using retailers’ customer data and a questionnaire. This paper’s purpose is to identify and analyze household food waste segments and discuss their actual purchasing behavior patterns. By doing so, we also illustrate and exemplify the potential use of customer loyalty card data to address global challenges related to food at the consumer level. The study utilizes an extensive data set of food purchases together with a survey of self-reported reasons for food waste in households. Utilizing cluster analysis, Phase 1 identifies six household segments: no food waste; trust in date labels; safety first; occasional wasters; overpurchasers and overpreparers; and family first. These segments differ in their sociodemographic and purchase profiles. In Phase 2, these segments’ purchasing behavior is examined further by applying tree-based methods. This study contributes to food waste research and studies on sustainable retailing. It also has practical implications for how retailers can facilitate household food waste reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1290
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • food waste
  • grocery retailing
  • customer data

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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