Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

What’s in your Trash???

A garbage bin attatched to the wall.
Image via Wikipedia

For my Buyer Behavior class, we were discussing observation research. There are two types, direct and indirect. Indirect occurs after the fact, but can still tell you significant research about an individual or group of people.

For our assignment, we were to dig through our trash and observe indirectly what we eat and the brands we buy on a regular basis.

I thought this was a little silly at first, but after completing the activity it was a lot of fun.

In my garbage can, there was a lot of apple cores, bottles, and trash not related to food.

The exact list contained….

Instant Mashed Potatoes

Great Value American Cheese Slices

Snapple Diet Peach Tea

Kroger’s Bottled Water

Apple Cores

Krogers Empty Bread Bag

Empty Kraft Parm. Cheese

Empty Great Value Pasta Box

Paper Towels

Planters Cashews Empty Tin

Empty Bag of Krogers Baby Carrots

The findings that I noticed from doing this experiment were…

1. I eat a lot more food than this, but most of the items have no waste. For example, I will cook a piece of frozen chicken for dinner but since I am not using the whole package, there is no waste. Also, other food items I consume but do not throw away the packaging right away include peanut butter and jelly, the turkey for my sandwich and my pickles in the jar.

2. What I found in my garbage does display typical buying behavior for me. I usually tend to buy off brands or store brands because it is cheaper and I do not care most of the time about the brand name.

However…. I noticed that there are a few exceptions in where I care about the brand name and can tell the difference with food. One example is Snyder Buffalo Pretzel Bites. I love these and no other type of pretzels compare.

So now here’s the exercise for you… go digging through your garbage and you might be surprised what you find….

My garbage does display my typical buying patterns, but some of the people in my class were surprised. For example, one girl in her hypothesis stated she was only going to have off brands or whatever was on sale because she did not care about the brand name and image that went along with it. However, after doing this exercise and writing down everything, she discovered that almost everything she bought was a brand name and that she did have connections and reasons to buy the brand name.

Torie Nicholas

  1. Torie
    That’s interesting. I have a lot of Trader Joe’s “trash.”

    I rarely go in a regular super market except maybe Sunflower but only for produce and on very rare occasions to Fry’s (which is a Kroger) and even rarer Safeway.

  2. That is an interesting way to study your own buying habits.

    I have a lot more stuff in my recycle bin than my trash. I’m another Trader Joe’s regular and occaisionally WalMart since it’s closest to my home.

    Most of my produce comes from an organic stand nearby. Not much waste from produce, and what I have goes in my compost pile (well, more of a hole) in my yard.

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