Kohei Watanabe is associate professor at Teikyo University (Tokyo, Japan) and a research associate at the
Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, University of Cambridge, UK. He obtained his PhD (Geography,
Cambridge) on the topic of household waste management. His current research topics include analysis of municipal
waste statistics, food waste minimisation and waste management in Southeast Asia.
Wastage of food is a serious issue in the contemporary society, both in terms of security of food supply and waste management. This is a project comparing the situations regarding food waste in Japan, US, and Europe. UK and Austria are chosen as locations for European cases, mainly due to the prospect of data availability. The project comes in two parts; one is the estimation on the amount of food waste in these countries, the other is investigating the factors that affect citizen's attitudes to wastage of food. In the existing literature, there are various estimates on the amount of food waste, but the definitions and methodologies for the measurements vary, and they are not directly comparable. Based on my previous research on Japan using food supply statistics and dietary intake surveys, I will carry out similar analyses in each research locations. Interviews with relevant authorities that provide the basic data will be conducted to ensure that the results are comparable. Time series analyses will provide insights on how effective the measures taking place in each location are. Investigation on the relationship between food related experiences and attitudes to food wastage will be conducted through intensive interviews and extensive questionnaire surveys. The results of the interviews will be used to formulate the questionnaire. Attitudes to food wastage at home, restaurants, and retailers of foodstuffs will be cross-analysed with the experiences of food education at home and at schools, level of environmental awareness, other experiences and dining habits. This investigation will identify factors that relate to citizen's attitudes against wastage of food. Governments and other bodies are seeking for effective measures for awareness raising, so the outcome will directly relate to policymakers' and campaigners' interests.