Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences
An upcoming paper shows that Front-of-pack nutrition labels have little impact on consumer choice in a retail setting. The study: “Effects of nutrition label format and product assortment on the healthfulness of food choice,” examines the choices of 1000 German and Polish consumers.
The workshop was carried out as part of an Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food project on consumer engagements with food governance. The Oxford Food Governance Group project aims to elucidate the emerging forms, roles, and uses of food-related information and communication technologies (ICT) at the consumer level, and how they might shape the EU food governance landscape in years to come.
This study presents different ways of presenting information on food calories and assesses how useful consumers find them. It showed participants of 3 groups the calorie content of a ham sandwich, displaying this information in different formats as shown in the diagram below.
The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the UK supermarket Tesco will monitor the healthiness of its customers’ food purchases using Clubcard data and then use that data to suggest ways in which people could make healthier choices. Although plans are still in the early stages options considered so far include offering vouchers for healthier products and promoting a better diet via suggested recipes.
This is an interesting study which tests preferences for sugar, fat, salt and umami (savoury-ness) among children in a range of European countries. It finds that children’s liking for these tastes varies by country, suggesting that culture has a very strong part to play in influencing food preferences. While hardly a major revelation in itself, what I take from this study is that the very common assumptions we see about the ‘inevitability’ of growth in demand for high fat and high sugar foods, or for meat products, are open to challenge.
A report by the UK consumer group Which? calls for a new approach to how food issues are handled to give consumer interests much greater priority, based on:
- Strong Government leadership and a clear food strategy;
- Effective consumer engagement on food issues;
This paper addresses the relationship between meat eating and climate change focusing on motivational explanations of environmentally-relevant consumer behavior. Based on a sample of 1083 Dutch consumers, it examines their responses to the idea that they can make a big difference to nature and climate protection by choosing one or more meals without meat every week.
Consumers influence climate change through their consumption patterns and their support or dismissal of climate mitigation policy measures. Both climate-friendly actions and policy support comprise a broad range of options, which vary in manifold ways and, therefore, might be influenced by different factors.
This paper has been widely reported – and also misinterpreted. It has been publicised as a study which suggests that healthier diets (which seems to be conflated with one containing lower levels of meat and dairy) do not necessarily lead to reduced GHG emissions; however, a closer reading of the conclusions reveals otherwise.
New work undertaken by a team at Wageningen University in the Netherlands suggests that many Dutch consumers are interested in reducing their meat consumption without completely becoming vegetarian. The new data find more than three-quarters of consumers questioned have at least one ‘meat free’ day per week and 40% report at least three meat free days per week. The Dutch researchers claim that this trend of flexitarianism is emerging for other nations throughout Europe.
One of their journal papers that examines the issue is as follows:
A study in Psychological Science examined the effect certain communication strategies have on pressing social issues. The study found that public campaigns that call upon people to think and act interdependently (as opposed to independently) may be counterproductive for many Americans. The experiments demonstrated that a person’s way of thinking and motivation to act are deeply tied to the cultural frameworks that shape their social worlds, findings that have important implications for those working to promote social and behavioral change.
A report by Low Carbon Oxford and LandShare entitled “Foodprinting Oxford” calculates the resources and risks involved with Oxford’s food supply, and explores how best to make the city’s food system more reliable. As part of LandShare’s “How to feed a city” programme, the report aims to help people understand where their food is coming from and how to make it more secure.
The FoodPrinting Oxford project takes a systematic look at two aspects of the city’s food system:
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE) has produced a report entitled “Global Food Waste Not, Want Not,” which highlights the challenge of feeding a growing population, in a world where up to 50% of food is wasted. The report looks at where food waste takes place, the need to produce more food with finite resources (land use, water, and energy), and provides recommendations as to what the engineering should do to yield greater productivity.
This report presents findings based on an interdisciplinary systems level scenario approach designed specifically to address complex societal problems. The project was funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute to explore how the UK food system may develop and change in response to futures bounded by more or less extreme climate impacts and emission cuts. The UK is taken as a case study to explore suites of possible futures that address adaptation, mitigation and demand.
A study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies at the University of Manchester has looked at the effect of the recession on households’ food purchasing patterns.
The findings of this study are unlikely to surprise anyone – the research is based on experiments carried out in the US and the UK and finds that there is a strong connection in people’s minds between eating meat—especially muscle meat, like steak—and masculinity.
FCRN member Chris Foster has recently co-authored this paper, which argues that a focus on ‘greening’ individual products without changing the wider socio-economic context within which products are produced, marketed and consumed is likely to achieve very little.