1Federal University of Rio De Janeiro (UFRJ), Macaé, Brazil, 2City, University of London, London, UK, 3NEPA - UNICAMP, Campinas, Brazil.
Introduction: Food waste is a global problem. Halving food waste by 2030 is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Objective: To identify patterns of involvement in meal preparation among people living in Brazil and test their associations with the percentage of food wasted at home. Methods: Cross-sectional study. Data were collected from people aged 18 or over, living in Brazil in April 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Participant`s meal preparation involvement (accessed by frequency of meal preparation, engagement in routine activities related to meal preparation, cooking mainly ‘from scratch’, and confidence in using diverse cooking techniques) and the percentage of food wasted at home (the amount of food bought and cooked that ended up being uneaten and thrown away) were identified using a questionnaire developed for data collection in a multi-country context. Principal Component Analysis was employed to identify patterns of involvement in meal preparation and linear regression models (crude and adjusted for sociodemographic variables) were used to test associations between the adherence to each pattern and percentage of food wasted at home. Results: Participants (n=503) were mainly adults (66% between 25 and 59 years old), men (55.9%), employed (67.8%), live in a house with more than one person (84.9%) and have a family income between US$ 246.01 and US$ 1230.00/month (46.5%). They estimated that, on average, 18.1% of the purchased foods, and 15.6% of the cooked foods are thrown away. Three patterns of meal involvement were identified: the first pattern ‘Buy new foods, plan and cook meals in advance’ was positively associated with ‘purchased waste’ (adjusted β= 3.7; p=0.001) and ‘cooked waste’ (adjusted β= 3.5; p=0.001); the second pattern ‘Cook often, from scratch, enjoy it’ was not associated with food waste; the third pattern ‘Check foods and do list before shopping’ was inversely associated with ‘cooked waste’ (adjusted β= -2.3; p=0.025). Conclusion: Our results suggest that meal preparation involvement can be a strategy to deal with food waste at home in the Brazilian reality. To this, waste-prevention behaviours, such as the involvement with planning food shopping and checking foods before shopping, should be encouraged.
Keywords: food wasted at home, patterns of involvement in meal preparation, Brazil.