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Mapping the landscape of Consumer Food Waste

Harvey, John; Nica-Avram, G.; Smith, M.; Hibbert, Sally; Muthuri, Judy

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Associate Professor

M. Smith

Professor of Consumer Behaviour

Professor of Sustainable Business and Development


Since 2015 there has been a surge of academic publications and citations focused on consumer food waste. To introduce a special issue of Appetite focused on the drivers of consumer food waste we perform a transdisciplinary and historical review of the literature through a co-citation network analysis and topic modelling approach. We show that the rapid increase in publications is largely attributable to an urgency caused by the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change. Topic modelling reveals that the dramatic quantitative increase of publications has also produced a variety of evolving themes, and that a metaphorical Cambrian Explosion is occurring after decades of academic inactivity. Network analysis results show that consumer food waste features in thousands of articles and hundreds of journals, but that the citation practices of academics are becoming highly concentrated, as 20% of journals attract over 80% of citations. Finally, by examining the burstiness and transdisciplinary structure of citation networks we show that though the field has historically been dominated by empirical articles, it is now starting to show signs of maturity as a flurry of review papers help to consolidate knowledge.

Journal Article Type Editorial
Acceptance Date Sep 21, 2021
Online Publication Date Sep 21, 2021
Publication Date Jan 1, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 28, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 22, 2022
Journal Appetite
Print ISSN 0195-6663
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 168
Article Number 105702
Keywords Food waste; Consumer behaviour; Consumer Food Waste; Co-citation network; Topic Modelling
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