Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Consumer stage

Consumer preferences, demands, needs and ultimately consumption patterns influence global and local patterns of agricultural production and affect all other stages of the food chain. However the consumption practice of individuals is itself shaped by a huge host of influences including national and international regulations and legislation, market prices and food’s affordability, food industry advertising and marketing, technological innovations, and societal norms, mores and taboos.

Image: USDA, Fruit bar pick, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain
4 September 2018

A survey of 18- to 24-year-old students in the US finds that very few study participants had high knowledge of the issue of food waste, and many participants estimated that they wasted less than the average American. Students often attributed blame for food waste to university dining halls, food service outlets or society in general, rather than to themselves as individuals. The paper grouped factors that both increased and reduced food waste production (depending on context) into several categories, including taste and appearance, reuse value, scheduling, personal values, portion sizes, cost, social norms, whether or not the food was prepared by the person who ate it, sharing of food, convenience, and food safety.

20 August 2018

Animal advocacy organisation Faunalytics has released the report “Messages to overcome naturalness concerns in clean meat acceptance: primary findings”, which studied how people perceive the “naturalness” of cultured meat (also known as laboratory-grown meat) when it is described in different ways. The report found that study participants (based in the US) were more accepting of cultured meat when presented with a message about the “unnatural” conditions in which conventional meat is produced. Messages arguing that cultured meat has a “natural” side or that “naturalness” does not matter did not result in greater acceptance of cultured meat.

17 July 2018

Irish social enterprise foodture has produced a podcast about food citizenship, featuring Anna Cura of the Food Ethics Council. Anna describes the concept of food citizenship as being a mindset where people to think about themselves as engaged citizens, not just consumers, when making food purchase choices.

Image: TeroVesalainen, Grocery store supermarket, Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons
17 July 2018

This paper reports on a systematic review of grocery store interventions undertaken to evaluate their effectiveness in changing food purchasing behaviours, and to examine whether this effectiveness varied with intervention components, setting, or socioeconomic status. This is the first paper to synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in grocery stores across a wide range of intervention types.

26 June 2018

This book, by Peter Jackson et al., looks at different types of convenience foods and why consumers use them, and seeks to apply its findings to policies for healthy and sustainable diets.

Image: USDA, Chicken wings with celery, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
11 June 2018

The FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed for a piece on the difficulties of eating ethically by UK newspaper the Evening Standard. The piece, which discusses meat replacements, lab-grown meat and trade standards, also features Dan Crossley of the Food Ethics Council and Kath Dalmeny of Sustain.

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.

26 May 2018

This book, by Ludovica Principato, reviews information on consumer-level food waste, including the factors and behaviours affecting food waste levels, policies and initiatives.

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.

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

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has agreed to buy Asda from US supermarket Walmart. Together, Sainsbury’s and Asda will have a market share of 31% of the UK grocery sector, ahead of rival Tesco. The supermarkets claim that the merger will allow them to lower prices by 10% on many items.

24 April 2018

This book, by Sirpa Sarlio, explores various aspects of the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the global food system, discusses health and sustainability aspects of specific foods including insects and meat substitutes and sets out options for promoting healthy and sustainable diets.

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

The Sustainable Restaurant Association has launched its One Planet Plate campaign, asking restaurants to showcase sustainable and ethical eating by devising one dish that uses local sourcing, zero waste, better meat, lower carbon footprint or other environmental or ethical considerations. Hundreds of restaurants are taking part in the scheme.

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.

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