WP 2: Drivers and data. Food consumption and diets

General Information

The objective of WP2 is to provide an understanding of the drivers of changes and responses to dietary recommendations. To provide insights regarding consumers' perception and reaction about new issues linked to sustainability, nutrition, environment and food security. WP2 will investigate consumption patterns and dietary intake in four European countries, connected with WP7 that will elaborate the SHARP model (see WP7).

Particular focus will be given to the reaction of consumers to new information related to sustainability and how can they change their habits. This will consider microeconomic model for simulating substitution between products when prices are changing (including willingness to pay, price and income elasticity). Consumer preferences are crucial for when it comes to implementing new policies.

The results of this model will contribute to WP7 and WP9.


Latest Publication

Deliverable 2.3: Analysis of the online choice experiment on fruit and vegetables determining the importance of nutritional and environmental benefits and the level of information

In this deliverable we investigate consumers’ sensitivity to product information on fruit and vegetable products. Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with better health and prevention of diseases (Guillaumie et al., 2012) and more knowledge is needed on how product information on fruit and vegetable products influences consumer choices. This study contributes to the existing literature by studying the combination of health and sustainability information. In light of dual process theories (ELM; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986; HSM; Chaiken 1980) we took both message content and message characteristics into account.

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Deliverable 2.6: Simulations of diet recommendations and assessment of their economic, environmental and nutritional impacts.

We analyse ex-ante the sustainability effects of diet recommendations in France, Denmark and Finland to conclude that: 1- The promotion of several diet recommendations would improve social welfare; 2- Healthy-eating recommendations targeting consumption of fruits/vegetables, salt and saturated fat should be prioritized for promotion; 3- Although synergies dominate, trade-offs between environmental and health objectives occur in some cases ; and 4- The taste/utility cost of dietary change imposed on consumers should be included in the welfare analysis of diet recommendations.

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Deliverable 2.5: Consumer choice related to meat/fish consumption and their possible replacement by plant-based products: results from lab experiments and costbenefit analysis

The deliverable D2.5 analyzes the results of lab experiments conducted in France and Italy. We evaluate the impact of different types of information on participants’ willingness-to-pay (WTP) and quantity choices for both beef burger meat and soy burger meat. We conducted a lab experiment in France and Italy to elicit hypothetical WTP with a multiple-price list. Explanatory messages about the impact of beef and soy on health and environment were revealed to participants, before successive rounds of WTP determinations and quantity choices. Results show a very weak impact of successive rounds of messages on WTP for both beef and soy. However, these explanatory messages lead to a significant change in chosen quantities. These results are used for determining a cost-benefit analysis on the basis of a model of diet changes induced by the adoption of nutritional and environmental recommendations. We particularly show how both relative variations in willingness-to-pay (WTP) and relative variations in chosen quantities, following messages revealed in the lab, can be used for a welfare analysis. These variations are integrated in a market equilibrium model, as a possible demand shifter or as a non-internalized damage/benefit when consumers are ignorant. A related cost-benefit analysis studies the welfare impact of a nutritional recommendation or a tax mechanism. Results suggest that these regulatory tools have a significant impact on the variation of welfare and the reduction of beef consumption. 3 working papers provided in annex were written for precisely studying these issues of this deliverable.

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Newsletter 2

The second newsletter answers research questions like: "What do European consumers think about sustainable food?", "Can information beef up the demand for meat alternatives?" or "Can we bank on seafood for a healthier food consumption?" It gives short summaries of the deliverables and papers, published during the last month

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Grocery store

Why consumers prefer both health and sustainability information - and why it should be done in a specific way

Consumers prefer combined information on health and sustainability benefits over only health or sustainability information. In addition, more specific information on health and sustainability is preferred over general information. This is the main outcome of SUSFANS' Deliverable D2.3 in which results of an online choice experiment conducted in The Netherlands, France and Czech Republic are shown. The aim was to analyze consumers’ sensitivity to product information on fruit and vegetable products.

What do European consumers think about sustainable food?

What do European consumers think about the sustainability of their own food behavior? What are their perceptions of sustainability? Can we measure determinants of sustainable food behavior or find similarities across European countries?

Identifying determinants is important. With that knowledge, we can anticipate which behavior consumers are willing to change under which conditions, and translate this information into metrics and models for generating a sustainable and healthy diet.