Food Waste in Iran; Time to Return to Islamic Perspective of Frugality

Document Type : Letter to the Editor


1 department of sociology, Yazd university, yazd, Iran 2 Research center of Quran, Hadith and medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran


UN Food and Agricultural Organisation believes that there is no balance between hunger and producing food and the world is producing more than enough food (1). It estimated that one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tones gets lost or wasted (2). Inefficiencies and losses in agricultural production and consumers' behavior all play a role (4). About consumer behavior Aktas et al. showed that Food choice motives, financial attitudes, planning routines, social relationships, food surplus and Ramadan effect on Consumers’ food waste (5). Farr-Wharton et al. emphasized on food shopping as the main cause of food waste (6). Schanes et al. showed that food waste is complex and multi-faceted issue that cannot be attributed to single variables (7). Sociologically there hugely under-researched area of interest for social scientists about food waste (8). This is a qualitative study which was conducted in Yazd University between September 2018 to January 2019. Data were selected by 70 one open ended questionnaire 'Why Iranian people have food waste behavior?" In addition 2 focus group discussions were conducted among the students considering ethical consideration. Data were analyzed by conventional content analysis method.


1. UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. Food Loss and Food Waste. (2019). Available from:
2. UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. SAVE FOOD: Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction; 2019. Available from:
3- Teyfouri A. Rastegary M. Food Waste : The Global Perspectives and National Outlook. 2015. available from:
4- Farr-Wharton, G., Foth, M. and Choi, J.H.-J. (2014), “Identifying factors that promote consumer behaviours causing expired domestic food waste”, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 393-402
5- Aktas E, Sahin H, Topaloglu Z, Oledinma A, Huda AK, Irani Z, Sharif AM, van’t Wout T, Kamrava M. A consumer behavioural approach to food waste. Journal of Enterprise Information Management. 2018 Sep 10;31(5):658-73.
6- Farr-Wharton, G., Foth, M. and Choi, J.H.-J. (2014), “Identifying factors that promote consumer behaviours causing expired domestic food waste”, Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 2014; 13 (6): 393-402.
7- Schanes K, Dobernig K, Gözet B. Food waste matters-A systematic review of household food waste practices and their policy implications. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2018 May 1;182:978-91.
8- Evans D, Campbell H, Murcott A. A brief pre‐history of food waste and the social sciences. The Sociological Review. 2012;60:5-26.
9- Sokootifar R. Reducing Food Losses in I.R.IRAN. 9th Meeting of Agriculture Working Group 23th October 2017 ANKARA – TURKEY. available from:
10- Yasini, MH. Frugality and extravagance: an Islamic perspective. (2019); Available from:
11- Badiei, S., & Bina, C. (2002). Oil and the Rentier State: Iran's Capital Formation: 1960-1997. Topics in Middle Eastern and North African Economies4.