Designing for action: an evaluation of social recipes in reducing food waste

V. Lim, M. Funk, L. Marcenaro, C.S. Regazzoni, G.W.M. Rauterberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Approximately, one-third to half of all food produced globally is wasted. In developed countries, roughly up to half of this food waste comes from consumers. In response to this, the UN has set goals to raise consumer awareness and reduce food waste by 50% before 2030. Our objective is to evaluate how emerging technologies could improve awareness in households. Inspired by future sensing possibilities, we envision a community-based social system that captures in-home food availability and waste patterns and uses this information to support awareness and sustainability. In this work, we describe an evaluation of a component that could be part of such a system. This component or concept, called Social Recipes, aims at encouraging food sharing by suggesting groups of related consumers recipes that are based on ingredients from different individuals or households. To evaluate Social Recipes, we conducted 3 user studies to see how it could raise awareness and reduce food waste and to suggest implications for its design. In the first two studies, we evaluated expected impacts of the concept. The third study was a home deployment, where Social Recipes were sent using technological probes for a more realistic experience. Here, we also evaluated it against the more common method of influence strategy in sustainability research that is restricted to feedback (i.e., eco-feedback). Our main findings showed that Social Recipes has raised awareness of in-home food availability and triggered food-related conversations among participants resulting in knowledge gain. However, Social Recipes alone was not perceived as effective in directly reducing food waste. And therefore, for the design of a community-based social system, we suggest another component to be added to the system that provides eco-feedback. This component was perceived as more effective in reducing food waste with impacts on awareness of waste generation and social surveillance. Overall, the aim of this work is to contribute to an understanding of how Social Recipes could impact consumers and how to design a community-based social (recipe) system that can be integrated in consumers daily activities for effective but pleasurable food waste prevention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-32
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • Computer-supported collaborative work
  • Food technology
  • Food waste
  • Persuasive
  • Sharing
  • Social interaction
  • Sustainability

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