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Consumer Seafood Waste and the Potential of a ‘Direct-from-Frozen’ Approach to Prevention

October 21, 2021

Roni A. Neff, David C. Love, Katie Overbey, Erin Biehl, Jonathan Deutsch, Irena Gorski-Steiner, Pete Pearson, Toriana Vigil, Catherine Turvey and Jillian P. Fry

Few food waste interventions focus on drivers distinct to particular food groups, such as seafood. Given suggestive evidence that seafood may be wasted at exceptionally high rates, and given its environmental, economic and nutritional value, this research provides insights into seafood-specific consumer food waste interventions. We performed three complementary sub-studies to examine consumer and retailer views regarding seafood waste and frozen seafood as well as perceptions of an intervention providing chef-created recipes to promote cooking frozen seafood without defrosting. The findings indicated an openness to a direct-from-frozen intervention among many consumers and retailers, and suggested seven potential barriers to adoption, along with ways to address them. Underlying the potential for this intervention, and more broadly contributing to addressing consumer seafood waste, the research formed the basis of a new “4 Ps” concept model to characterize the drivers of discarded seafood: proficiency, perceptions/knowledge, perishability, and planning/convenience. These factors shape waste through pathways that include behavioral protocols; taste preferences; waste-prevention efforts; and food safety concerns, precautions, and errors. This research suggested the benefit of testing a larger-scale direct-from-frozen intervention using insights from the concept model and, more broadly, the benefits of exploring approaches to food waste prevention rooted in specific food groups.