Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 33-36  
J. Environ. Treat. Tech.  
ISSN: 2309-1185  
Journal web link:  
Analysing the Influence of Perceived Scarcity,  
Negative Feelings, and Status Consumption on Food  
Waste Among Consumers  
Muhamad Azrin Nazri *, Nor Asiah Omar *, Suhaily Mohd Ramly , Siti Ngayesah Ab Hamid  
Azreen Jihan Che Mohd Hashim5  
Faculty of Economics and Muamalat, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia  
, 4  
Centre of Value Creation and Human Well-being (INSAN), Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor,  
Faculty of Business, Accountancy and Social Sciences, Kolej Universiti Poly-Tech MARA (KUPTM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  
Faculty of Economics and Muamalat, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia  
Received: 05/08/2020  
Accepted: 02/10/2020  
Published: 10/10/2020  
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of perceived scarcity, negative feelings, and status consumption on food waste among  
consumers in Malaysia. A total of 258 questionnaires were collected via convenience sampling from customers who purchased food. The  
findings suggest that negative feelings and status consumption are significant and positively related to food waste. However, perceived  
scarcity shows no relationship to food waste. This study indicates that consumer’s behaviors and motivations in buying food can lead to food  
waste. This study provides empirical and managerial contributions to the underlying factors that influence food waste among consumers. Due  
to the alarming level of food waste and limited research on consumer food waste behavior in the medium to a high-income group of countries  
such as Malaysia, there is an urgent call to conduct this study.  
Keywords: Food Waste, Negative Feelings, Perceived Scarcity, Status Consumption  
5]-[6]. Many activities make consumers more likely to produce  
food waste, such as shopping in large supermarkets, shopping  
infrequently, and not preparing menus or making shopping lists  
In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization presented the  
estimate that around ⅓ of the world’s food is lost or wasted every  
year. Food waste is any food, and inedible parts of food, removed  
from the food supply chain to be recovered or disposed of. Wasted  
food is a considerable component of the world food system  
challenge [1]. Food waste can be categorised into three groups,  
which are food losses, unavoidable food waste and avoidable food  
waste [2].  
Food is lost or discarded throughout the supply chain, from  
initial production to final use by the households [1]. The USDA's  
Economic Research Service (ERS) reported that 21 per cent of the  
[5]-[7]. The same study also found that consumers do not generally  
regard food waste as an environmental problem. Food waste is also  
recognized as a major issue for global environmental, economic  
and health security [7]-[8]. A major challenge that faces the  
international community is to provide safe for over 9.1 billion  
people by the year [9]. According to FOA (2011) report, 32 percent  
of the world-produced food was lost or wasted in 2009. According  
to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste  
currently represents the single largest type of waste entering  
landfills. Wasted food leads to over utilization of water and fossil  
fuels and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, i.e. methane and  
carbon dioxide arising from degradation of food in landfills [10].  
The gross carbon footprint of lost and wasted food, excluding land  
use, is measured at 3.3 billion tons of CO equivalent, according to  
a recent study by the FAO.  
The issue of food wastage is also prevalent in Southeast Asia  
and showing significant implications for the region's food,  
environmental and economic security [11]. It is estimated that 33  
30 billion pounds of consumer-level food available in 2010 alone  
have been thrown away [3]. Consumers dumped 244.5 billion  
kilocalories per day, 789 kilocalories per capita [3]. Roughly one-  
third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted  
globally [4]. The most common reasons customers throw away  
food are expiry dates, foods that look, smell, degust poor, mold or  
too much time in the refrigerator or cupboard [5]. Fruit and  
vegetables, post-prepared leftovers, bakery products, dairy  
products, and eggs are the most popular food being thrown away  
Corresponding author: Muhamad Azrin Nazri, Faculty of Economics and Muamalat, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan,  
Malaysia. E-mail:  
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 33-36  
percent of food in the world is wasted in Southeast Asia [12].  
Target [11]. There are effective measures to prevent and reduce  
food waste, but in Southeast Asia they are not widely  
implemented. The RSIS Center for Non-Traditional Security  
conscious consumers seek self-satisfaction from the product, as  
they tend to use products that have visible brand. This allows them  
to gain a certain level of self-identity and association to a specific  
class [25], consumers will place their desire rather than their  
necessity in purchasing goods or services. This kind of purchasing  
behavior link to luxury, glamour, leisure, abundance and waste  
People with bad emotion are in uncontrolled condition which  
will lead towards purchasing unnecessary items and tend to hoard  
the particular products [27]. In addition, individual with negative  
thought lingering in their minds will restrain themselves to  
consume the food [28], [29]. All the negative feeling during food  
consumption such as distress, feelings of shame (e.g., drawing  
attention due to their manner of eating) and frustration (e.g., due to  
avoiding some of their favorite foods) will let an individual leave  
their food unfinished [30]. Furthermore, consumer have negative  
feeling towards food waste although in short period they are like  
to throw food and feel guilty afterwards [31].  
Consumers portrays that scarce objects are valuable. They often  
infer value in a product that has limited availability or is promoted  
as being scarce [32]. A limited-quantity scarcity was on a first  
come first serve basis that trigger consumer to buy immediately as  
they have no clue on the stock availability [33]. A scarce product  
was perceived as more desirable as customer hypothetically think  
that they need the product in the future [34]. Thus, it makes the  
consumers comprehend that if they did not purchase the product  
right away, then they would not have any chance to get it next time.  
Scarcity conditions would pursue consumers to buy the product  
immediately [35]. These are the hypotheses (H1  H3) developed  
for the study. The research framework is shown on Figure 1.  
NTS) Studies hosted the August 2012 Expert Working Group  
Meeting to discuss food from Southeast Asia in connection with  
these issues. This policy brief is based on the meeting's results and  
presents some policy recommendations for governments in  
Southeast Asia to tackle urban and rural food waste [11].  
Specifically, domestic waste in Malaysia accounts is the main  
contributor which is 64%. The share of industrial waste is 15%,  
followed by agricultural waste and building waste and institutional  
waste. It was reported that on average a household in Malaysia  
throws away around 0.5-0.8kg uneaten food per day [13]. Statistics  
from Malaysia's Solid Waste Corporation (SWCorp) showed that  
Malaysia's food waste exceeded 15,000 tons per day in 2015 and  
for that amount of food waste, the food was enough for almost 10  
Million people, including 3,000 tons that were still fit for  
consumption and should not have been discarded [1]. Clearly,  
Malaysian solid waste contains a large amount of food waste, and  
the volume has recently been estimated to hit 63.1 percent in 2008  
Siwar, 2008) and 74 percent specifically in Kuala Lumpur  
Malaysia's capital), which is mostly disposed of at landfills.  
Generally, food waste is usually associated with behaviors such  
as negligence or conscious discard decisions [14]. The behavior of  
consumers in food waste may be systematically related to the  
drivers of food purchasing decisions, which in turn are based on  
intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of food [15]. Food waste becomes  
one of the biggest concerns in this modern era, as it causes  
unfavorable issues to the environment, economic and social  
consequences on the sustainability of the food sector around the  
globe [16]. Furthermore, food waste is also known as the removal  
from food supply chain which is suitable for consumption, or due  
to it was expired or spoiled because of consumer behavior itself  
which involve urgency to buy, perceived scarcity or negative  
feelings; whereas food loss is defined as the reduction in quantity  
or quality of food [4]. Both food loss and food waste are strongly  
related as decreasing each of them will help to increase food supply  
to people who need food and also increase positive impact to the  
environment physically, socially and economically. With millions  
of people all over the world struggling to find enough food to eat  
for survive, the fact that millions of tons of food are tossed out  
every year can be surprising.  
H1: Perceived scarcity positively influences food waste.  
H2: Negative feelings positively influences food waste.  
H3: Status consumption positively influences food waste.  
Perceived Scarcity  
The wastage of food occurs at all stages of the life cycle of food,  
starting from harvesting, through manufacturing and distributing  
and finally consumption, but the largest contribution to food waste  
is from homes [17][18][19]. Sometimes, consumer’s behaviors and  
motivations such as status consumption in buying food will make  
an impact on consumer’s emotion and attitudes (anticipated regret,  
utilitarian attitude, hedonic attitude). According to the literature  
review, status consumption is “the motivational process by which  
individuals strive to improve their social standing through the  
conspicuous consumption of consumer products that confer and  
symbolize status both for the individual and surrounding  
significant others.” [20]. Empirical studies are still lacking despite  
this growing concern about food waste behavior at the consumer  
level [21][22][23].  
Negative Feelings  
Food Waste  
Status Consumption  
Figure 1: Research Framework  
Literature Review and Hypotheses Development  
Status consumption is the purchase, use and consumption of  
products to gain status among peers and society [24]. Status-  
Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques  
2021, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages: 33-36  
than their necessity in purchasing goods or services that ultimately  
leads to waste.  
Research Methodology  
A. Sampling and Research Procedure  
Although this study has few significant contributions, it still has  
limitations. This study has investigated only three variables and  
employed cross sectional data. Thus, it is recommended for future  
research to include more variables in the framework and employ a  
qualitative method that may possibly generate more information  
on the present study.  
In this study, the data was collected using primary method which  
is using questionnaire. It was done in The National University of  
Malaysia (UKM). Respondents were given a self-administered  
questionnaire to answer. A total of 200 valid questionnaire was  
collected from the respondents and used for data analysis.  
B. Research Instrument  
All questions in the survey were adopted and adapted from past  
studies. All items were measured using 7-point Likert scale  
The author would like to thank Malaysia Research University  
Network (MRUN) in providing the grant: EP-2019-004/  
UPM.800-4/11MRUN/2019/5539140 and  
1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=somewhat disagree,  
=neutral, 5=somewhat agree, 6=agree, 7=strongly disagree).  
Data Analysis  
In this study food waste stands as the dependent variable and the  
USIM/YTI/FEM/052002/41618 in assisting this research.  
remaining variables: perceived scarcity, negative feelings, and  
status consumption represent the independent variables. The  
results are shown in Table 1, the value of R = 0.174, which implies  
Ethical issue  
Authors are aware of, and comply with, best practice in  
publication ethics specifically with regard to authorship  
7.4 percent of variance in food waste are likely explained by  
avoidance of guest authorship), dual submission, manipulation of  
perceived scarcity, negative feelings, and status consumption. As  
indicated in Table1, status consumption, and negative feelings  
have significant positive influence on the food waste. Hence  
supporting H2 and H3. However, perceived scarcity is not  
significantly related to food waste. Thus, H1 is not supported. On  
examining the value of Beta, it could be observed that status  
consumption has most crucial influence on food waste followed by  
negative feelings.  
This result of the research validates past studies that indicate  
negative emotions lead to high food intake in response to positive  
emotions [36]. Several other researchers also suggested that  
sadness enhances food indulgence [37][38] and impulse buying  
figures, competing interests and compliance with policies on  
research ethics. Authors adhere to publication requirements that  
submitted work is original and has not been published elsewhere  
in any language.  
Competing interests  
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that  
would prejudice the impartiality of this scientific work.  
Authors’ contribution  
All authors of this study have a complete contribution for data  
collection, data analyses and manuscript writing.  
[39][40]. In addition, past studies also pointed that, as people  
higher on materialism they are not only found to have more  
favorable attitudes toward spending [41] but have also been linked  
to wasting money on relatively unimportant possession [42].  
T. F. S. Teixeira, Ł. M. Grześkowiak, S. Salminen, K. Laitinen, J.  
Bressan, and M. do C. Gouveia Peluzio, “Faecal levels of  
Bifidobacterium and Clostridium coccoides but not plasma  
lipopolysaccharide are inversely related to insulin and HOMA index  
in women,” Clin. Nutr., vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 10171022, 2013.  
Table 1: Regression results between perceived scarcity, negative  
feeling and status consumption  
Independent Variables  
Perceived scarcity  
Negative feelings  
Status consumption  
Standardized Beta  
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Adjusted R2  
FOA, “The State of Food and Agriculture Social protection and  
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J. Jörissen, C. Priefer, and K. R. Bräutigam, “Food waste generation at  
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Note: *p<0.05; ns=not significant  
Based on the research findings, it can be concluded that negative  
, pp. 26952715, 2015.  
feelings and status consumption are significantly related to food  
waste. However, perceived scarcity has no significant relationship  
with food waste. The negative feeling during food consumption  
will let an individual leave their food unfinished. In other word,  
negative feelings tend to influence consumers to make more food  
consumption to soothe their bad mood, this will lead to more food  
purchase that may cause food wastage. Status consumption is also  
related to food waste as consumers will place their desire more  
B. Lyndhurst, “Public understanding of sustainable energy  
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WRAP, “Household Food and Drink Waste in the UK,” London, 2007.  
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