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, or how and why consumers choose certain foods over others, we cannot learn how to help consumers move towards healthier diets. ILSI Europe’s Emerging Issues Process recognised the topic of ‘Consumer Behaviour Determinants’ as a key priority and resulted in the creation of a new task force.

Upcoming

Two potential topics are currently being considered by the task force:

  • ‘Food Waste’ was ranked second by the first Emerging Issues Process and could either focus on the consumer perspective, i.e. what are the drivers leading consumers towards wasting food, or from the producer perspective, i.e. what strategies could be developed to reduce food waste, for instance in terms of packaging or labelling.
  • ‘Food Satisfaction’ could aim to better understanding the determinants of food satisfaction and how they can influence
    consumer eating behaviours. This activity could be linked to food characteristics, including sensory properties.

What’s New

A new activity on ‘Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices’ kicked-off at the end of 2016. The impact of nudging interventions on long term and sustainable behaviours will be reviewed and research gaps will be identified.

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.

Impact

The latest publication ‘Risk/Benefit Communication About Food – A Systematic Review of the Literature’ (L.J. Frewer et al.,
2015) was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition and was cited more than 20 times.

For more detailed information, please contact Mr Elias Rito at erito@ilsieurope.be.

Task Force Members

 

Expert Groups

Nudging and Sustainable Changes Towards Healthier Food Choices

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 the nudge theory as a 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 shortand 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

Publications

All Publications

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