Understanding consumer choice drivers to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security

Background

Consumer science is an ever-expanding field that ILSI Europe has driven forward over the years. Without knowing about consumer behaviour, and how and why consumers choose certain foods over others, we cannot learn how to improve food products.

ILSI Europe is currently tackling consumer science via two parallel initiatives, the Horizon 2020 EU-funded project SUSFANS ‘Metrics, Models and Foresight for European SUStainable Food and Nutrition Security’ and ILSI Europe’s new Emerging Issues Process that recognised the topic of ‘Consumer Behaviour Determinants’ as a key priority.

  • SUSFANS project’s scope includes, but is not limited to, investigating the impact of policies on consumer choice and subsequent implications for nutrition and public health in the EU (see p. 176);
  • ILSI Europe’s Emerging Issues Committee selected the topic of ‘Consumer Behaviour Determinants’. A New Activity Proposal (NAP) focusing on ‘Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices’ was developed and the new expert group is ready to kick-off.

Objectives

The Consumer Behaviour Determinants Task Force uses a holistic approach to gather the scientific knowledge of nutrition, environment and social sciences. It aims to enable in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour in order to improve sustainability and health.

What’s New

  • A new activity on ‘Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices’ kicked-off in 2016.
  • A potential new activity on ‘Behaviour Determinants Driving Consumers Towards Food Waste’ is under discussion.

For more detailed information, please contact Dr Pierre Dussort at pdussort@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members

 

Expert Groups

Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices – New

Objectives

Unhealthy food choices and related behaviours are currently driving increased rates of obesity in Europe, with concomitant increases in the incidence of non-communicable diseases. Several strategies are being used to move consumers towards healthier choices. One of them is nudging, a concept promoting the idea that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestion will influence the decision making of groups and individuals in a more sustainable way than other interventions. This activity aims to systematically review the existing evidence base regarding short- and long-term impacts of nudging, and to identify gaps in knowledge where these exist. Suggestions for further research will be made where appropriate. .

Activity

An initial step is to review what methodological approaches can be included under the heading “nudging”. The impacts on long term and sustainable behaviours will be reviewed, and any gaps in existing knowledge identified. This will enable a more robust evaluation of the appropriateness of nudge theory as the basis for potential interventions, targeting healthier food choices.

Expected Output

This project is designed to underline scientifically based evidence regarding when, and under what circumstances, nudging can be used as an intervention to promote short and long term changes in eating behaviours in the direction of healthier diets. It will also propose a gap analysis and a research agenda regarding future data needs with regard to nudge theory and sustainable healthy dietary choices. Ultimately, this project will lead to a greater understanding about the potential role of the psychological and cultural determinants of food choice in the context of nudging theory.

Expert Group Members

Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices – New

Publications

All Publications

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