Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

EU projects

LowInFood : Challenges and chances when measuring household food waste

Discover the different methods used to evaluate food waste at household level.

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Measuring food waste at household level is more difficult than at other stages of the food value chain. LOWINFOOD partners are working on this task and offer some insights on the pros and cons of common methods used.

Direct measurements:

There, weight or volume are measured directly, so consumers have to collect their food waste in containers foreseen for this purpose. After a certain period, food waste amounts can be weighed and if needed sorted to gain more insights into the composition. Liquid components make sorting efforts more difficult. The spoiled food might develop unpleasant odors, this should also be considered in advance for the sake of participants (e.g. no implementation in summer months).

Sorting analyses:

Sorting analyses are suitable for estimating quantities and are mainly used when different types of waste are mixed together (e.g. organic components in residual waste) and/or to investigate the composition of food waste (avoidable – unavoidable and/or classification). They are very time consuming and costly. Also, often, food is difficult to identify e.g. flour or liquid components mixed together.


Unlike other methods, surveys can reach large numbers of participants in a relatively short period of time and thus at a relatively low cost. Surveys are particularly useful for collecting qualitative data to develop a deeper understanding of why food is disposed of and what attitudes and habits lead to the generation of avoidable food waste. Among other things, they can also be used to get a first overview in an area that has not been studied before (e.g. waste in a certain sector) and to get a feeling for possible hotspots.

Diaries or other records:

Diaries can be used to gather qualitative and quantitative data – interesting additional information such as storage place, duration of storage, disposal channel or reason for disposal can be easily recorded.


To know more, read the full article on the LOWINFOOD Project website


For more information about the project, please visit the following media :


drapeau ue seulThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No.101000439

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