Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on household food waste behaviour: A systematic review

Appetite. 2022 Sep 1;176:106127. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2022.106127. Epub 2022 Jun 14.


Food waste has adverse economic, social, and environmental impacts and increases the prevalence of food insecurity. Panic buying at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak raised serious concerns about a potential rise in food waste levels and higher pressure on waste management systems. This article aims to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on food waste behaviour and the extent to which it occurs using the systematic review method. A total of 38 articles were identified and reviewed following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The findings showed that the COVID-19 pandemic led to reductions in household food waste in most countries. Several changes in shopping and cooking behaviours, food consumption, and managing inventory and leftovers have occurred due to COVID-19. Based on these insights, we predicted that some desirable food-management habits would be retained, and others would roll back in the post-COVID-19 world. The review contributes to the food waste literature by offering a comprehensive overview of behavioural changes during the COVID-19 pandemic and future research directions.

Keywords: COVID-19 lockdown; Food waste behaviour; Household food waste; Sustainability.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Food
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Panic
  • Refuse Disposal*