Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences

4 June 2018

FCRN member Afton Halloran has edited this book, which outlines the role of edible insects in food systems around the world. Topics include nutrition, consumer acceptance, environmental impacts, using insects as animal feed and legal regulation.

Image: Tempeh salad, Pxhere, Public domain
4 June 2018

Redesigning restaurant menus to promote vegetarian dishes can change behaviour, but the effect depends on how frequently customers have eaten vegetarian food in the last week, according to an online survey. Presenting vegetarian dishes as the chef’s recommendation or using more appealing menu descriptions both make infrequent eaters of vegetarian foods more likely to choose the vegetarian option (compared to a control case), and frequent eaters of vegetarian foods less likely to do so. Putting vegetarian options in a separate menu section didn’t affect the choices made by infrequent eaters of vegetarian foods, but made those who eat them frequently less likely to choose a vegetarian dish.

Image: Scott Bauer, Researchers examining wheat in a field, Free Stock Photos, Public domain
26 May 2018

In this IFSTAL blog post, Harley Pope of the University of Reading addresses some of the challenges of thinking about food systems that are too complex for any one person to understand fully.

Image: Beans Proteins, Max Pixel, Creative Commons CC0
21 May 2018

Consumers prefer the term “100% plant-based” to “vegan”, according to a survey of US adults. When asked a series of questions including “Which tastes better?” and “Which is healthier?”, more than two-thirds of respondents selected “100% plant-based” over “vegan” (no other answers were available). According to Bark Stuckey (President and Chief Innovation Officer of Mattson, the organisation that conducted the survey), the preference might be because “plant-based” is seen as a positive dietary change, whereas “vegan” is seen as a whole lifestyle associated with deprivation and activism.

Image: USDA, Man shopping in supermarket, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
21 May 2018

Shoppers do not notice sustainability rating logos on packaging, according to a report by QuadPackaging and Package Insight. In the study, 60 participants had their eye movements tracked while “shopping” in a retail laboratory. The products they were presented with were fictional brands with logos claiming different levels of sustainability. The logos did not represent a real sustainability standard. While 40% of the participants said that sustainability affects their purchasing decisions, the eye-tracking technology showed that 92% of the participants did not notice the sustainability logos.

Image: Craig, Oil palms in Malaysia, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
21 May 2018

This paper outlines the difficulties of governing the complex global palm oil supply chain, examines the narratives around the environmental and social sustainability of palm oil and analyses how power dynamics create a fragmented governance structure for palm oil. The author concludes that the palm oil industry has created a narrative in which only “unsustainable” palm oil production is to blame for negative environmental and social effects, and in which “sustainable” palm oil - and an increase in its production - is presented as being beneficial for conservation and local communities.​

9 May 2018

Helen Adams of the Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP) project, to which the FCRN is linked, has written about LEAP’s first public engagement project. The team ran a stall at Super Science Saturday at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History. Members of the public tasted samples of vegetarian sausages and vegan cheese and were asked to sort different food types according to their greenhouse gas emissions.

9 May 2018

80% of children and 95% of teenagers are not eating enough vegetables, according to the Veg Power fund recently launched by The Food Foundation. Veg Power is running a crowdfunding campaign to promote vegetable consumption among children, produce information for parents, develop contacts with industry and write a book of vegetable-centred recipes for children. Supporters include Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Image: Engin_Akyurt, Burger bread meat, Pixabay, Creative Commons CC0
23 April 2018

This paper used a survey to explore consumer views of burgers made from beef, plant-based or cultured meat. The survey participants were asked to choose, hypothetically, between the varieties of burger and were told that all burgers tasted the same (the participants did not actually get to try any burgers during the experiment). The results predict that, if prices were equal, 65% of consumers would buy the beef burger, 21% the plant-based burger, 11% the cultured meat burger and 4% would not buy any.

Image: Tomatoes and friends, Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Tofu, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
23 April 2018

This paper is the first to provide US data about what people eat when they reduce their meat consumption without becoming vegetarian or vegan. The objective of the research was to understand what is eaten in meatless meals and Americans’ attitudes to and perceptions of meat reduction.

10 April 2018

A information site about clean meat and cellular agriculture has been launched by the Cellular Agriculture Society. It discusses applications of cellular agriculture including lab-grown meat, leather and silk and introduces terminology such as “neomnivore”, i.e. a person who only eats cellular agriculture products.

Image: kaibara87, Cell Culture in a tiny Petri dish, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
10 April 2018

Cultured meat, also known as in vitro, clean, lab-grown or synthetic meat, is meat grown as muscle tissue in the laboratory. This paper reviews the state of cultured meat technology, analyses social concerns and examines some of the issues that start-ups in the industry face.

26 March 2018

This book, edited by Fabricio Chicca, Brenda Vale and Robert Vale, calculates the environmental impacts of lifestyles around the world. FCRN readers may be particularly interested in Chapter 10, which looks at food.

Image: Jeremy Noble, Roast, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
26 March 2018

In this paper, the authors conducted a review of numerous studies to examine the content, advantages and limitations of a frame-based approach to assist consumers in reducing their intake of conventional meat (e.g. eating less meat or different meat, such as organic or certified for animal welfare or environmental impact). Particularly, they want to evaluate whether behaviour can be shifted by creating new frames and to identify frames that can bridge a transition by highlighting ‘push’ factors away from routine meat eating, or ‘pull’ factors towards encouraging the consumption of alternatives.

12 March 2018

Greenpeace is calling for global meat and dairy consumption to be halved by 2050, citing climate change, the health benefits of plant-based foods and the association of animal farming with antimicrobial resistance.

Image: Stacy Spensley, creamy pasta bake, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
12 March 2018

In this study, researchers investigated two message strategies – message framing and the refutation of misinformation – to evaluate their effectiveness in persuading consumers to reduce meat consumption and increase the intake of plant-based alternatives. The study also takes into account people’s prior beliefs (previous knowledge or factual beliefs) about the health and climate impacts of red meat consumption.

Image: Jorge Franganillo, Drowning by numbers, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
6 March 2018

This Buzzfeed story follows allegations that a Cornell researcher published studies obtained through the scientifically dubious method of ‘p-hacking’.

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