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Opening the black box of eating out food waste in China.

Jin, Yingying (2020) Opening the black box of eating out food waste in China. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Food waste is a compelling research topic due to the way in which its environmental, social, and economic impacts accumulate throughout the food supply chain. However, it is a tremendously under-researched area in the social sciences, particularly in relation to service provision. Efforts to reduce food waste, particularly at the consumption stage, are especially meaningful for people in China. This is because the country must sustain more than one-fifth of the world’s population with only limited food-related resources. Moreover, in contrast to Western countries, consumer waste in China mainly arises from restaurants as opposed to households. Therefore, to reduce food waste in service provision in China, it is worth examining the formation of food waste at the consumption stage. To overcome the theoretical dualism that exists between individualism and structuralism in the study of food consumption and waste, this research is grounded in various strands of theories of practice. It investigates both the ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ aspects of eating practices in-situ, as well as the nexuses between a collection of integrative practices through the examination of ‘practical sense’. It is also an important element established in eating practices between habitus and the field of dining-out. Ethnographic methods were employed to acquire knowledge over a four-month period in 2017 in two Chinese cities: 26 in-depth semi-structured interviews and 16 eat-along sessions. A suite of creative methods was also used to gather a range of interview data, including photographs, table-elicitation, and Play-Doh. The findings suggest that eating-out food practices are constituted of the following integrative practices: social organisation of meal occasions, judgement of aesthetic qualities, judgement of bodily capacity, and judgement of food functionality. Amongst these four practices, waste of food left on plates was attributed to its materiality, practice conventionality, and temporality. This is because it influenced participants’ perceptions regarding food edibility and waste inevitability. Key factors contributing to food waste included the perceived inevitability of social circumstances and the perceived risk of consuming leftover food, due to its perishable nature and the temporal distance to the next mealtime. Accordingly, this study indicates that food waste is associated with a set of food practices that should always be considered in the field of practice, particularly in terms of the surrounding material, social, and temporal dimensions, rather than as an isolated, discrete phenomenon.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Jin, Yingying
Date : 30 April 2020
Funders : Not applicable
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00854091
Contributors :
Depositing User : Yingying Jin
Date Deposited : 19 May 2020 10:42
Last Modified : 20 May 2020 07:33

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