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14 Recommendations to Turn Intentions into Action for More Sustainable Food Consumption

Although many people declare that they want to eat healthier and more sustainably, the proportion of sustainable food consumption is still shockingly low. How can we move from attitudes and intentions to actual action? How can we bring about the necessary behavioural change for more sustainable food consumption in Europe?

The VALUMICS report From Intention to Action investigates multiple options to close the intention-behaviour gap and provides behaviourally-informed recommendations for policy makers, businesses, and civil society organisations (CSOs).

Drawing on the latest research and insights on consumer evidence, including those of behavioural science, the report puts forward 14 recommendations for supporting the shift toward more sustainable and healthier food consumption patterns. The recommendations are potential actions and ideas that the targeted stakeholders could consider and build upon in their strategies.

Based on the angle of influencing and shaping food choices, the recommendations are organised into four main clusters: ‘choice environment’, ‘choice expansion’, ‘choice editing’, and ‘beyond choice’. For example, ‘choice environment’ brings together recommendations that influence choice by creating a favourable environment for sustainable food purchase, often nudging consumers in a desired direction. Recommendations in the ‘beyond choice’ cluster include broader, more systemic influences that stretch beyond the specific point and time of food purchase, for example, to financial, education, and time incentives.

Targeting food industry actors and policy makers, ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ is a choice expansion recommendation that calls for the investment, innovation and introduction of better-performing and more sustainable food options, such as plant-based proteins, insect-based products or lab-grown / 3D printed meat. On the other hand, ‘off the list’, a choice editing recommendation, boldly suggests experimenting the complete removal of products with poor sustainability performance from product portfolios and markets.

The recommendations contribute to supporting the EU in achieving its targets and goals as defined in its Farm to Fork strategy. More prominently, they support the strategy’s specific goal to ‘promote sustainable food consumption and facilitate the shift to healthy, sustainable diets’.

This report is the fourth and last in a series of VALUMICS publications focusing on food consumption analysis. The first report brings together information about the determinants that influence or drive European food consumption patterns; the second report looks into behavioural evidence that supports the shift towards more sustainable and healthy dietary patterns; while the third one outlines the learnings collected from behaviour change interventions at a retail store.

To learn more about the recommendations, please read the full report here.

For further questions, please contact Cristina Fedato.