consumers sustainability awareness From July 2013 newsletter

Get your consumers to act more sustainably

New member–funded research is looking to see whether consumers can be persuaded to be more aware of sustainability issues in food production and supply, and change their food consumption behaviour as a result.

Consumer concerns

Previous studies have enabled us to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of different consumer concerns and barriers when purchasing products with specific ethical and environmental benefits or claims – such as the provision of health claims, and references to free–range or organic production, and fair-trade origin. Cost, awareness and knowledge relating to the perceived social and environmental benefits of the product appear to influence consumer food choices. The new project is building on this knowledge. It will focus on studying consumer attitudes and implementing test communication strategies in order to influence consumer behaviour. As end users of the food chain, consumers' positive views and purchasing intentions are essential in encouraging sustainable food production.

The literature was reviewed to define the scope of the terms 'sustainability' and 'sustainable food', and on research findings with respect to consumers' attitudes and behaviours in relation to them. This was followed by an intervention study on sustainable fish An online study following a novel approach is now being conducted to understand how consumers interpret sustainable information on food packaging and to conclude on its efficiency.

Contact: Marleen Chambault
+44(0)1386 842256

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