Living Lab #9: Informing and nudging consumers

Consumer Engagement and Everyday Life

How can you adapt the knowledge on food loss and waste in your everyday life through little helping hands like recipes, meal boxes, labels and other digital and practical solutions without compromising nutritional aspects? And what about other environmental aspects?


The problems we address in this Systemic Innovation Lab are related to the lack of engagement of consumers in reducing food loss and waste, in which we have identified two obstacles, awareness of food loss before retailers and consumer’s habits which relate to their dietary needs. 

Food loss in the whole value chain

Today, consumers are not aware about the concrete food loss that goes before they have a product in their hand.

One concrete example is that of frozen French fries in the Netherlands; the machines at the French fries processers are created so that potatoes must have a specific shape, and therefore potatoes must be cut before use.

Currently, around 20% of the input potatoes, is thrown away as cut-off because producers cannot find any other profitable use of it.

The same problem with e.g. vegetables sold in retail, where the “ugly vegetables” that don’t live up to standard are thrown away before they reach the super market. 

On top of this, consumers have personal nutritional need and need to balance a daily intake.

We know that consumers use go-to recipes in their everyday life to support their nutritional needs, but these recipes don’t take into account food waste. By slightly moderating the recipes, the full food waste could be remarkably reduced.  

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Three partners in this Systemic Innovation Lab are approaching these challenges by capturing data on existing consumer patterns and through mathematical modelling… 
  1. Netherlands Nutrition Centre Foundation (Foodinc Centrum) – public organization that provides nutritional information to Dutch Citizens in order to have a healthy and sustainable centre. Already use an app to communicate with consumers, this app will be involved in the project. 
  2. TiU - Tilburg University – Will provide knowledge on operation research, good at mathematical modeling and optimizing targets, basing output on statistics 
  3. WU - Wageningen University and Research Centre – Focus on agriculture, food, cooperations


In the initial stages, we will be working mainly on collecting data, mathematics and statistics and we will be creating models and discussing the parameters and to validate the results of the mathematical models.  
We plan to create labels for consumers in the purchasing situation to be aware on how much food loss was created for this product for a transparent purchase. 
Then, departing from standard recipies and with the help of mathematical modelling, we want to suggest alternative recipes which have the same nutritional values but create less food loss and waste. The recipes will be created involving chefs, food bloggers and food advisory chatbots. 
Based on these recipes we want to create meal boxes, and supermarkets will be involved to better understand the consumer acceptance and dynamics at buying situations which can be used to refine the models and recipes. 

First results

We expect the first results in 2023


Joris Wagenaar
Tilburg University
The NetherLands

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#1 FLW monitoring and assesment

#2 Innovative sustainable and smart packaging

#3 Wasteless greenhouse solutions

Mobile food

#4 Mobile food valorisation as a service

Ugly food

#5 Ugly food identification

#6 Datadriven production process control

#7 Food bank network

#8 FLW valorisation through algae production

#9 Informing and nudging consumers

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