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Household Food Waste: A Wicked Problem

Discuss about the Systems Thinking is Critical in Developing Solutions to Sustainability Challenges: Household Food Waste.

In order to explain the statement “Systems Thinking is Critical in Developing Solutions to Sustainability Challenges: Household Food Waste” the “household food waste” in the nation will be taken into consideration. The wicked problem revealed that household wastage of food has attained high attention on the societal and academic stages (Aschemann-Witzel 2016). As a result of poor environmental, economic along with social impacts, “food waste” is deemed to be among major sustainability concerns which must be dealt with. In developed nations, consumers are deemed to be among the major “food waste” source. For successfully decreasing household food waste, this is vital to attain a detailed understanding of factors impacting consumer perceptions and behaviour related with household food waste. Sustainability can be definedas “values-laden umbrella concept which inspires reflection on the way in which interface can be managed between environment, business and society (Aschemann-Witzel et al.2015). This is in order to make sure that the productive activities might not degrade the global ecosystem”. There are numerous stakeholders along with certain drivers’ impact on sustainability like atmosphere, energy, bio-diversity, land and freshwater. This essay intends to explain the relationship between the wicked problem along with three pillar sustainabilitymodels. It will also elaborate the ways in which systems thinking can be implemented within the sustainability concern.

Wicked Problem

Decrease of the household food waste and food loss is turning out to be a wicked problem that has drastic economic, environmental and social impacts. In developed nations, around 40% of food waste takes place at the consumer, retail as well as household levels (Bernstad 2014). Strategies focussed on household food waste reduction is often relied on breaking down of any system within its segmented parts and making attempts to decrease it gradually. In addition, the wicked problem of household food waste is complex and might attain advantage from a holistic and systematic evaluation forfacilitating in dealing with the problem. The wicked problem also exists in the initial stages within supply chain that is present in the developing nations, food wastage along with surplus at upcoming stages are gradually noticed within advanced nations (Göbel et al.2015). The role of consumers within wicked problem of household “food waste” is highly important in advanced nations.

Relevant data is present regarding household food waste concern can gradually increase and current data also indicates certain actions that a downward advancement can be done. For instance, a household “food waste” decreases of 21% was observed within nation in the year 2014 and it was reported that consumers now waste less than the food they used to do before (Hebrok and Boks 2017). In such nations, the companies and activists state that societal debate and actions were taken that has aa positive impact. However, still consumers for not have a vital function in household “food waste” through their individual in-store along with household selections. Their real and estimated food perceptions along with behaviour of food purchase impacts decision making of stakeholders along with the overall supply chain. For decreasing household “food waste” in advanced nations, this is vital to attain an detailed understanding of certain factors focussed on household food-based consumer perception along with behaviour in point of purchase and in household (Jörissen, Priefer and Bräutigam 2015).

Consumer Perception and Behaviour Related to Household Food Waste

Sustainability and Household “Food Waste”

Considering the difficult concern of household food waste, a series of actions is set by stakeholders in food chain or by actors attempting to impact on supply chain (Papargyropoulou et al.2014). In order to maintain sustainability, consumer expectations and perceptions are properly considered in order to understand the cultural and social background and the aspects that are expected within household food market surrounding. It is also gathered that differences in culture exist in different regions of same nation. This can also mean that major reasons of food waste can greatly differ with different regions of the same nation that might indicate the major reasons of food waste (Papargyropoulou et al. 2014). In the “consumer-retailer” communication, retailer or producer selection for packaging sizes related to along with the mentioned functions along with type as well as length of mentioned “date labelling” with household food goods.

Factors Causing Household “Food Waste”

“Food waste” is observed as a difficult concern, with magnitude of aspects affecting household food wastage along with avoidance of these wastes as well as food supply chain. At the time a fraction of food waste escaping strategies might be selected for saving money, enacting a broad action range is rather because of ethical causes. This is associated with the fairness, values or religious (Ponis et al.2017). The research related with household “food waste” has increased significantly over years. Due to communicating nature of the aspects and based on recommendationsof experts, it is affected that there are several set of actions that might result in change there is no single solution. Certain actions are recognised that can be of great importance to deal with for the reason that this can have relatively higher potential for drastic changes. Such changes include date labelling, perceptions and expectations along with consumer household food management behaviour (Porpino 2016).


Date labelling issue takes place rather majorly as a concern within consumer household “food waste”. It is gathered that certain legislation along with usage of food producer’s that must be harmonised or enhanced for proper match the ways in which customers can deal with data labelling. Such sustainability measure can educate consumers repeatedly and constantly regarding proper understanding and usage of household food (Porpino, Wansink and Parente 2016). Moreover, enhancing “household food management” behaviour of consumers in consideration to acquiring and really performing the food skills is necessary. Moreover, dealing with the knowledge to end avoiding the food waste is a major concern. However, it is not clarified it is not that simple in consideration to certain goals and related trade-off related with in eating and food. Avoiding “household food waste” can considerably be a low priority to the customers (Principato 2018). For this reason, the aspects that serves as a hopeful direction, particularly as association among multiple actors is deemed as combination of certain strategies. This considers offering tips and tools along with slightly increasing motivation along with association through focussing on certain ethical causes along with certain win-win situations. 

Sustainability and Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking

A system can be explained as an interaction between more than two aspects of the work as a whole. The principles along with the whole processes are concerned about interaction among one another, it usually cannot be observed. In the systems, all the aspects are a matter to one another in case there is a change among them the behaviours of systems will change (Reynolds et al.2014). Systems thinking can also be described as an outline, that prefers to see interrelationship or the change within the pattern than the specific things. The major goal of systems initiative is to reveal the interaction between economy, society and the environment. This approach also resists breaking the issue within the segments for detailed examination. It is observed that it is necessary to investigate the interrelationship the overall systems themes and patterns that emerges of the inside new meaning to the initial issues (Schmidt 2016). In any sustainability situations with the associated issue, for instance climate change, overpopulation or obesity increasing diversity might result in different meaning of the situations. This is also beside the indication opportunity for actions that might also have taken place. Two tools were applied to the household food waste prevention system as an impact diagram tool for systems thinking. This diagram was developed throughbrainstorming of all potential aspects of prevention system of avoidable “household food waste” along with considering to identify all the system aspects and subsystem elements (Secondi, Principato and Laureti 2015). This was also implemented to a new strategy in order decrease the level of preventable household food waste. It was implemented within a latest project which is preparing mobile application intended for consumers of the “home food delivery services”.

Figure 1: Seven Systems Engineering Analysis Method

(Source: Thyberg and Tonjes 2016)

It can also be stated that the statement “Systems Thinking is Critical in Developing Solutions to Sustainability Challenges: Household Food Waste” is generally accepted due to the objective of systems thinking. This is in order to mismatch the three sustainability pillars society, economy and environment (Tucker and Farrelly 2016). As mentioned, certain strategies related to systems thinking sustainability includes harm minimization, comprehensive approach, balanced approach, commitment and partnership to an evidence-based policy. These have not been much successful in illicit household food waste scenario. Systems thinking might deal with suggesting certain solutions for the wicked problems in order to maintain the three pillars sustainability-based interaction. Future reaches or discussions on systems thinking might be required in order to reveal the solution for household food waste and its sustainability. The interaction of systems aspects which makes up the household food waste prevention system (Thyberg and Tonjes 2016). This explains the requirement for new and existing strategies for using the systems thing ad related approach in order to effectively deal with the challenge of food waste. None of such strategies are recently implemented as a fraction of movement are working in isolation. This is evidenced by a fact that “household food waste” has continued to increase over the last three years (Tucker and Farrelly 2016).

Interrelationship Analysis as a Tool for Addressing Household Food Waste


For the products devoid of “date labelling” or within certain instances when date is over, this is important that certain perceptions and expectations of consumers consider the evaluation of foods acceptability. It can be deemed that it might be altered further and developed with time considering actions like retailers offering along with properly marketing a wider range of various characteristics of appearance within fresh food production (Jörissen, Priefer and Bräutigam 2015). This can be associated with a societal explanation supported by campaignersand NGOs that triggers the consumers reflections of the fact. This is along with impacts of standard form resulting in changes within norms within society. To deal with certain concerns related with food waste, retailers must consider developing, testing and analysing distinct pricing strategies intended for suboptimal foods to maintain a balance among satisfying consumers focus on a better price-quality association along with decreasing wastage of food. Consumers look for better “price-quality” association that can result in needless “over-purchasing” which transfers wastage from supermarket to home (Jörissen, Priefer and Bräutigam 2015).

Conclusion

This essay intended to explain the relationship between the wicked problem along with three pillar sustainabilitymodels. It will also elaborate the ways in which systems thinking can be implemented within the sustainability concern. It was gathered from the paper that the wicked problem of household food waste is complex and might attain advantage from a holistic and systematic evaluation for facilitating in dealing with the problem. The wicked problem also exists in the initial stages of the supply chain that is present in the advanced nations, food wastage along with surplus at former stages are gradually seen within advanced nations. The function of consumers in wicked problem of household “food waste” is highly important in advanced nations. Moreover, Systems thinking can also be described as an outline, that prefers to see interrelationship or the change within the pattern than the specific things. The major goal of systems initiative is to reveal the interaction between economy, society and the environment. This approach also resists breaking the issue within the segments for detailed examination. It is observed that it is necessary to investigate the interrelationship the overall systems themes and patterns that emerges of the inside new meaning to the initial issues. In any sustainability situations with the associated issue, for instance climate change, overpopulation or obesity increasing diversity might result in different meaning of the situations. This is also beside the indication opportunity for actions that might also have taken place.

References

Aschemann-Witzel, J., 2016. Waste not, want not, emit less. Science, 352(6284), pp.408-409.

Aschemann-Witzel, J., de Hooge, I., Amani, P., Bech-Larsen, T. and Oostindjer, M., 2015. Consumer-related food waste: causes and potential for action. Sustainability, 7(6), pp.6457-6477.

Bernstad, A., 2014. Household food waste separation behavior and the importance of convenience. Waste management, 34(7), pp.1317-1323.

Göbel, C., Langen, N., Blumenthal, A., Teitscheid, P. and Ritter, G., 2015. Cutting food waste through cooperation along the food supply chain. Sustainability, 7(2), pp.1429-1445.

Hebrok, M. and Boks, C., 2017. Household food waste: Drivers and potential intervention points for design–An extensive review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 151, pp.380-392.

Jörissen, J., Priefer, C. and Bräutigam, K.R., 2015. Food waste generation at household level: results of a survey among employees of two European research centers in Italy and Germany. Sustainability, 7(3), pp.2695-2715.

Papargyropoulou, E., Lozano, R., Steinberger, J.K., Wright, N. and bin Ujang, Z., 2014. The food waste hierarchy as a framework for the management of food surplus and food waste. Journal of Cleaner Production, 76, pp.106-115.

Ponis, S.T., Papanikolaou, P.A., Katimertzoglou, P., Ntalla, A.C. and Xenos, K.I., 2017. Household food waste in Greece: A questionnaire survey. Journal of cleaner production, 149, pp.1268-1277.

Porpino, G., 2016. Household food waste behavior: avenues for future research. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 1(1), pp.41-51.

Porpino, G., Wansink, B. and Parente, J., 2016. Wasted positive intentions: the role of affection and abundance on household food waste. Journal of food products marketing, 22(7), pp.733-751.

Principato, L., 2018. Factors and Behaviours Affecting Food Waste at Consumption Level: The Household Food Waste Journey Model. In Food Waste at Consumer Level (pp. 15-34). Springer, Cham.

Reynolds, C.J., Mavrakis, V., Davison, S., Høj, S.B., Vlaholias, E., Sharp, A., Thompson, K., Ward, P., Coveney, J., Piantadosi, J. and Boland, J., 2014. Estimating informal household food waste in developed countries: The case of Australia. Waste management & research, 32(12), pp.1254-1258.

Schmidt, K., 2016. Explaining and promoting household food waste-prevention by an environmental psychological based intervention study. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 111, pp.53-66.

Secondi, L., Principato, L. and Laureti, T., 2015. Household food waste behaviour in EU-27 countries: A multilevel analysis. Food Policy, 56, pp.25-40.

Thyberg, K.L. and Tonjes, D.J., 2016. Drivers of food waste and their implications for sustainable policy development. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 106, pp.110-123.

Tucker, C.A. and Farrelly, T., 2016. Household food waste: The implications of consumer choice in food from purchase to disposal. Local Environment, 21(6), pp.682-706

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