Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumer perceptions and preferences

27 February 2014

CONSENSUS has been awarded funding by the Irish EPA to further its innovative research on sustainable consumption. CONSENSUS is the first large-scale, all-island research project on sustainable consumption in Irish households. The research will involve In-Home Living Labs which mean that households will be testing novel solutions for more sustainable food practices around food purchasing, cooking, waste management and washing. For example, householders will experiment with new-to-market composting tools, smart food apps, and grow-your-own kits. Researchers will also conduct ethnographic research to evaluate how these interventions affect food practices, advancing knowledge on practice-oriented approaches to behaviour change and identifying R&D, policy and educational initiatives.

27 February 2014

There has been an increase in the number of people requiring ‘food aid’ in the UK. Food aid includes a range of initiatives which provide food to people in need, including food banks, meal projects, soups runs, food vouchers and community care projects such as meals on wheels. Policy makers, along with the media and the wider public, are now engaging with some of the questions such initiatives raise.

18 February 2014

This systematic review examines the most common persuasive techniques used to promote junk food to children on television. The study shows that the approaches most frequently used are: free toys, gifts, discounts and competitions, promotional characters and celebrities, and appeals to taste and fun to promote junk food to children. These persuasive techniques were found to be used more often when promoting unhealthy food. The study authors argue that a ban on junk food advertising to children under 16 would be an important measure to fight child obesity. NB: the study looks at which persuasive techniques were most commonly used – it doesn’t assess which are the most effective.

14 February 2014

This Dutch study looks at consumers’ potential preferences for snacks made from a range proteins with lower environmental impact and segments according to their values and attitudes to food. In this hypothetical experiment, people could choose between written descriptions of a range of snacks containing lentils or beans, seaweed, insects or a combination of meat and a non-specified meat substance. The study found that a hybrid meat product may be preferred by many consumers before insects or seaweed. The researchers found that, overall, people who tended to eat more meat were less likely to choose the lentils and seaweed snacks while those who ate more fish were more likely to choose the seaweed snack.

6 February 2014

The paper is a systematic review of literature describing seven dietary interventions  aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in overweight or obese children. It points out that in the context of the global obesity problem, dietary interventions can be used to promote healthy eating habits, but taking a narrow and restrictive focus can result in an increased preference for the restricted foods and be unlikely at achieving positive, long-term change.

6 February 2014

WRAP (the Waste Resources Action Programme) has published a new report which uses an econometric modelling approach to investigate the influences on household food waste and food purchases. It also looks into the implications of less food being wasted.

28 January 2014

The European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table has launched a new protocol to help consumers make informed choices about their food and drink. It also aims to provide operators along the food chain with scientifically reliable and consistent environmental product information. The ENVIFOOD Protocol provides guidance for assessing the environmental impact of food, feed and drink products throughout their full lifecycles. The European Food SCP Round Table, aside from producing the ENVIFOOD Protocol, has also identified tools for communicating environmental performance, and mapped environmental challenges and good practices along the food chain.

19 December 2013

In this post on the Defra Sustainable development Scene, Toby Pickard, Senior Sustainability Analyst at the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) in the UK, looks at shopper attitudes towards achieving a sustainable diet, the challenges surrounding this and the implications for the food and consumer goods industry.

19 December 2013

The UK’s Family Food report provides detailed statistics on food and drink purchases, expenditure and the derived nutrient content of those purchases from a large household survey covering the United Kingdom. It looks specifically at the domestic, household level.

Chapters include: purchases and expenditure, energy and nutrient intakes, geographic and demographic comparisons as well as a chapter on dietary trends.

12 December 2013

This study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), has an interesting approach to capturing changes in diets by country. It uses an ecological metric – trophic levels – to calculate different dietary patterns across different countries and to examine how these patterns - and their trophic levels – have changed over time (1961-2009).

5 December 2013

The Irish CONSENSUS research project on sustainable household consumption has launched a set of two-minute video animations on their research. CONSENSUS aims to advance understanding of the drivers shaping everyday household consumption practices and to identify policy, technology and educational interventions to facilitate sustainable living. We are highlighting three of their videos here.

21 November 2013

The European Union is funding a project entitled PROteINSECT to investigate the efficacy and safety in using insect protein as a source of animal feed. The project will also investigate the potential for using insects for human consumption. Currently insect protein is only allowed in shellfish feed within the EU and forbidden for other animal feed or for human consumption.

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