In Articles, for academia
Working paper

Retailer price promotions, and in particular multibuys such as the popular “buy-one-get-one-free,” are often criticized as a leading cause of household food waste, presumably because they lure shoppers into buying more than they can realistically consume. In this research, the authors combine household scanner panel data and survey data from a natural experiment to conduct the first systematic, large-scale test of this claim. Households reported consumption, storage, and disposal of perishable foods purchased at regular prices, at a straight discount, or on a multibuy. Contrary to public opinion, households in either price promotion condition clearly did not report wasting more food than did households that purchased at regular prices. In fact, our analysis shows that food purchased on a multibuy was wasted less, and that households in this condition reported consuming more and taking more preventive action than did households in the regular price condition. These findings are relevant to marketing scholars interested in food waste or price promotions, and to marketing professionals and regulators interested in the broader societal impact of promotional tactics.