Session title: ‘Engaging consumers for a better food value chain’
Session date: Wednesday 13 November 2019, 13:45 – 15:55
Special EU projects session
The current food value chain is facing a variety of challenges to produce and offer both sustainable and healthy solutions for a growing world population. In a cross-disciplinary effort to tackle these complex and comprehensive issues, understanding consumer behaviour has become a prerequisite for engagement: engaging consumers as a central part of the food value chain is seen as one of the most powerful tools to help improve the food value chain – both through valuable feedback and cocreation of new ideas, and through building up trust in the food chain actors.
This special session will offer participants insights into the results from three research projects currently funded within different European schemes (Horizon 2020 and EIT Food), shedding light on how to engage consumers along the food value chain. The different projects highlight different approaches which all aim at connecting consumers with producers and building trust through mutual commitment:
(1) The Trust Tracker®, an initiative by the European Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) on Food, has set out to develop a conceptual model to measure and monitor European consumers’ trust in the food value chain. In doing so, it also explains the role of trust in consumers’ beliefs about different food chain actors as well as their confidence in the available foods and the technology with which they have been produced.
(2) SMARTCHAIN aims to stimulate demand-driven short food supply chains and foster rural development on the basis of consumer engagement. Specifically, the project offers insights from local supply chain case studies and interviews with European and national stakeholders involved in short food supply chains. These findings can help improve our understanding of consumer demands in local and regional food supply.
(3) Strength2Food focusses on strategies for upscaling (i.e. creating new and/or expanding existing markets) for quality food products to foster the development of an ‘economy of quality’. This involves understanding the role, motivations, attitudes and practices of actors already engaged in different types of SFSC (using a mixed-method approach, including in-depth interviews, customer surveys and desk research) and evaluating the impact of, and interrelations between, the chosen food chains and social, environ-mental and economic dimensions, in given territories.
The session will commence with a short introduction to top level results from each project, followed by a longer panel discussion with all speakers. Participants are encouraged to engage in this conversation with their own experiences, expertise but also questions and concerns they may have for this topic.