Published July 22, 2020 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Consumers are willing to participate in circular business models: A practice theory perspective to food provisioning

  • 1. University of Naples Federico II - Italy
  • 2. University of Exeter - UK


Implementing circular business models in food supply chains is an organizational solution to tackle the issue of household food waste, converting it in feedstock to upcycle within industrial symbioses. Adopting literature on practices of food consumption as theoretical framework, this paper analyzes consumers’ participation in circular business models. A conceptual model of the emergence of food provisioning practices in circular business models is designed and empirically tested, through a survey, in order to analyze consumers’ willingness to participate in an innovative food provisioning mechanism with retailers. Respondents were asked to choose whether to participate or not in a proposed program, and their choices have been modelled in an ordered logit model. 88% of interviewees declared sorting organic food waste as a normal activity in his household. 78.9% of participants accepted to participate to the proposed programs independently of the type of agreement’s attributes. 14.49% accepted only some programs depending on the program type, while 6.61% of respondents choose not to participate to any of the proposed program. Findings outline the expected participant as an individual already engaged in tasks to cope with risk in food provisioning and having already developed a long-lasting relation with a retailer. The study reveals also the opposite effect of concerns about tasks related to take-back system, such as food waste handling, and social desirability of recycling. Focusing on the business-to-consumers relationship, the paper suggests to practitioners interested in circular business models the possibility to adopt innovative ‘food-product-as-a-service’ approaches. Recommendations can be derived for future studies about the relevance of practice theory in the analysis of consumers’ engagement in circular business models.



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