There is broad consensus that the amount of food produced for human nutrition but not finally consumed is one of the great challenges societies have to meet in the pursuit of a more sustainable food system. Many recommendations have been published and disseminated to households recently in order to reduce household food waste. So far, there is no evidence that these suggestions are an effective toolbox consumers can apply to minimise their food waste. The purpose of this paper is to discover which kind of information or action is appropriate to minimise household food waste by presenting the results of a consumer survey with 351 respondents conducted in Germany in autumn 2011. Important findings are that the advice given so far does not address households' actual difficulties in minimising food waste but rather secondary issues and hence fails to reduce individual food waste. It becomes obvious that especially complex and irregular lifestyles as well as exceptional situations cause waste. Expired best before and use by dates are important to a lesser extent because the products wasted most frequently are not sold with such labels and consumers' comprehension of these labels is correct.
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