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Barnett J.,Brunel University | McConnon A.,University College Dublin | Kennedy J.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Raats M.,University of Surrey | And 7 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2011

Background: European consumers are faced with a myriad of food related risk and benefit information and it is regularly left up to the consumer to interpret these, often conflicting, pieces of information as a coherent message. This conflict is especially apparent in times of food crises and can have major public health implications. Scientific results and risk assessments cannot always be easily communicated into simple guidelines and advice that non-scientists like the public or the media can easily understand especially when there is conflicting, uncertain or complex information about a particular food or aspects thereof. The need for improved strategies and tools for communication about food risks and benefits is therefore paramount. The FoodRisC project ("Food Risk Communication - Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies") aims to address this issue. The FoodRisC project will examine consumer perceptions and investigate how people acquire and use information in food domains in order to develop targeted strategies for food communication across Europe. Methods/Design. This project consists of 6 research work packages which, using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, are focused on development of a framework for investigating food risk/benefit issues across Europe, exploration of the role of new and traditional media in food communication and testing of the framework in order to develop evidence based communication strategies and tools. The main outcome of the FoodRisC project will be a toolkit to enable coherent communication of food risk/benefit messages in Europe. The toolkit will integrate theoretical models and new measurement paradigms as well as building on social marketing approaches around consumer segmentation. Use of the toolkit and guides will assist policy makers, food authorities and other end users in developing common approaches to communicating coherent messages to consumers in Europe. Discussion. The FoodRisC project offers a unique approach to the investigation of food risk/benefit communication. The effective spread of food risk/benefit information will assist initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of food-related illness and disease, reducing the economic impact of food crises and ensuring that confidence in safe and nutritious food is fostered and maintained in Europe. © 2011 Barnett et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2009-2-1-02 | Award Amount: 3.80M | Year: 2010

FoodRisC will characterise key configurations of food risk/benefit relationships and the consequent implications for risk communicators, make recommendations about the unique potential of new social media (e.g. social networks and blogging) and provide a systematic understanding of how consumers deal with food risk/benefit information. The FoodRisC consortium is comprised of experts in key fields relevant to food risk/benefit communication from research institutes, consumer organisations and SMEs in ten Member States. This consortium is supported by an Advisory Board of representatives from seven organisations of world renown in food risk/benefit communication (including EFSA, WHO and Google).The project will identify the barriers to communicating to consumers across Europe and identify key socio-psychological and socio-demographic characteristics, including gender, that affect food risk/benefit perceptions and processes as well as consumer preferences for communication channels. These objectives will be achieved through a range of research approaches and methods and by extending the theoretical basis of how people acquire and use information in food domains. The impact of the project will be at a European level and will be facilitated through the development of the FoodRisC toolkit together with practical guidance to enable the effective communication of coherent messages across the Member States. Use of the toolkit and guides will assist policy makers, food authorities and other end users in developing common approaches to communicating coherent messages to consumers in Europe. The effective spread of food risk/benefit information will assist initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of food-related illness and disease, reducing the economic impact of food crises and ensuring that confidence in safe and nutritious food is fostered and maintained in Europe.


Fell D.,Brook Lyndhurst | Cox J.,Brook Lyndhurst | Wilson D.C.,Imperial College London
Waste Management and Research | Year: 2010

This short report presents one strand of the findings from a comprehensive synthesis review of the available evidence on household waste prevention. The aim here is to reflect on evidence regarding the decoupling of economic growth and negative environmental impacts, as well as existing work on modelling and forecasting household waste prevention. Decoupling was found to be a contested term, both conceptually and in terms of practical application, and evidence that it can be achieved was often weak or ambiguous. Modelling, as a tool to explain current waste prevention behaviours, was found to suffer from weaknesses in understanding complex human behaviours and lack of data, and key studies were only able to explain around 30% of observed changes in waste prevention behaviour. Existing models and forecasts of the future growth of waste were therefore found to be largely speculative. These reflections have provided a number of insights for progressing household waste prevention, including the need for a mix of hard (i.e. fiscal, regulatory and service provision) and soft (i.e. behaviour change) measures, though environmental, behavioural, economic and political barriers are also recognized. Among the conclusions is that decoupling as a concept has limited value in terms of developing specific interventions, while recommendations relevant to policy makers and local authorities include the need for further data accumulation and conceptual work to improve modelling and forecasting.


Cox J.,Brook Lyndhurst | Griffith S.,Brook Lyndhurst | Giorgi S.,Brook Lyndhurst | King G.,Brook Lyndhurst
Resources, Conservation and Recycling | Year: 2013

Throwing products away before they fail or are broken is at the heart of consumer behaviour in developed economies such as the UK. Products are often discarded for reasons of fashion, or to keep up with technological advances, rather than because they have reached the end of their functional life. Such behaviours contribute to resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, and physical waste which needs to be managed. Extending the length of time that products are kept in use (whether by their original or subsequent owners) can contribute to greater resource efficiency, with significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This research was undertaken to support the development of evidence-based policy in the UK on the role of longer product lifetimes in achieving sustainable consumption and waste prevention. Twelve qualitative discussion groups, involving 115 consumers, were carried out to explore consumer influences on product lifetimes including: which factors influence purchase decisions; the care of products in use; and disposal decisions. A new typology was developed to describe how products meet consumers' various needs for 'workhorses', 'investment' and 'up-to-date' products; and how lifetime is an outcome of the 'nature' of a product (functional life) and its 'nurture' (lifetime in use) by consumers. The results demonstrate that consumers have come to expect constant and rapid up-dating of products. In particular, having the latest versions of products is strongly associated with personal identity and feelings of success in life. There is little evidence of concern about the environmental consequences of a 'throwaway society'. The low cost of new products, which enables rapid updating for reasons of fashion, is a key barrier to encouraging consumers to keep products in use for longer. Some opportunities were identified however for certain 'workhorse' and 'investment' products that are valued more for their functionality than fashion. © 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.

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