The University of Sheffield
Citizen Food Waste - City Gub Gub 20072022.pdf (1.55 MB)

CITIZENS FOOD WASTE PREVENTION BEHAVIOUR CHANGE GRANT RAF100-304 – University student food waste reduction app pilot

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posted on 2022-07-20, 15:52 authored by Christian Reynolds, Alexander Fetcher, Beth Armstrong, Andrew Woffindin, Dave Cook, Michal Czaplicki

Food waste management apps are designed to be food manager software, combined with a versatile shopping and cooking planner that helps citizens avoid food waste by tracking what they have and when it expires.  

In 2021 a team of researchers trialled the Gub Gub food waste management app at the University of Sheffield.

This summary report provides detail of the interventoin.


•Only 4% of food was recorded as 100% wasted on the app, 48% of food was “used” (33% recorded as 100% used).

•£35.93 of food was wasted and £353.12 of food was used over the intervention. £489.65 was unaccounted for being neither used nor wasted.

•The proportion of reported waste to used decreased over the intervention period. The core user base was buying more and wasting less over the intervention.

•The food waste collection from the halls of residence in 2021 was lower than Monthly Average Weight 2015-2019 but higher than the volumes for 2020. This could be due to increased student numbers staying in halls of residence in 2021. 


Overall this intervention was unsuccessful, not reaching recruitment targets for effective evaluation. However useful data on the use of food waste management apps was collected.

•There were a total of 894 unique users of the Gub Gub app, during the intervention period. •This intervention was successful with a core group of ~150 users who continued to use the app after the intervention period.  •Gamification and quizzes proved popular with users. However, only 54% (£1168.25) of rewards were claimed, leaving 46% rewards unclaimed or expired.  

Wider uptake of the app was blocked by the following barriers:

Clunky data entry procedure: there were 600+ food items enterer that were never updated. This could be due to user attrition/lack of engagement. 

Lack of automatic update features: there was a maximum of 200-400 users of the app over the intervention. 

COVID-19: barriers to the (face to face) marketing of the app in the wider student community. Many planned recruitment activities cancelled, and less student foot-fall on campus.


“Citizens Food Waste Prevention Behaviour Change Grant” funded by Defra and administered by WRAP.



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