SAVING THE PLANET OR SAVING MONEY?:Qualitative Study of the Foodsharing User Motives in Borås, Sweden

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Abstract: Given the rise of ICTs and the sharing economy, grassroots initiatives emerge as a complement to food banks in order to tackle the food waste problem at the local level. Foodsharing collaborates with local food operators in order to collect edible food that would otherwise be discarded, and deliver it to sharing points where anyone can take it freely and anonymously. In contrast to a food bank, foodsharing does not assume a charitable role. Its main goal is to reduce food waste, which to a large extent corresponds with people’s motivations to participate in it. With the sharing economy as a theoretical framework, in this thesis I study motivations to use foodsharing. Taking into account economic, environmental and social benefits of the sharing economy, I look for a potential mismatch between the user and participant motives that has been concluded in other schemes before. Namely, that users would be more interested in economic benefits compared to participants, and would primarily be motivated by the access to free food. Based on ten semi-structured interviews with foodsharing users in Borås, Sweden, my study reveals no such mismatch: like participants, users are strongly opposed to food waste, and generally do not see free food as an important motive to use foodsharing. The mismatch, however, seems to exist between their attitudes towards the purpose of foodsharing: while for participants it is about reducing food waste per se, users do not necessarily see foodsharing from the environmental perspective, and highlight its charitable mission instead.

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