What’s on Your Menu Today?

With Europeans’ appetites accounting for over 30% of all consumption-related impacts, there is a need for governments and businesses to help shift consumers to eat more sustainably while also ensuring food value chains become more resilient. Seizing this opportunity, the VALUMICS project launches today. It will focus on developing interventions to trigger more sustainable food consumption and production behavior.

VALUMICS’s core objective is to provide food value chain decision makers with a suite of tools to evaluate and increase the impact of strategies that enhance resilience, sustainability, and innovation within the chains.

Price, information, quality, infrastructure, reputation, negotiation power, convenience, values, health concerns – these are all aspects that influence how value chains function. This also holds true when it comes to food and how producers, suppliers, retailers, and consumers engage with each other. But to what extent? How far do these aspects have an impact on shaping current food value chains? Is there any difference whether we are talking about bananas, yogurt, or beef? Does it change  depending on quality, consumer group, or the point of consumption? And most importantly: which types of  interventions could support us in achieving more resilient and sustainable food consumption and production?

VALUMICS will tackle these questions and more. The work will entail assessing the dynamics of key selected value chains in Europe, testing tools to analyse and improve the functioning of food value chains, and developing engaging scenarios and communications strategies to help visualise and implement possible future transitions to better food value chains.

CSCP will lead the work on consumer analysis by mapping key food consumption behaviours in Europe, along with its patterns, drivers, impacts, main stakeholders involved and relationships of power and influence. Our approach will include in-depth interviews, consumer focus groups and ethnographic research. Levers for scaling up emerging approaches such as organic, fair and local production, prosumerism, vegetarianism, and ICT tools will be assessed. We will benchmark and test triggers of behaviour towards more sustainable food consumption. Retailer shops will work as our living labs for testing intervention strategies to support increasingly sustainable food purchasing behaviour, in order to distill practical knowledge about which behaviour triggers work best depending on specific contexts or markets.

Is it all about providing information about a product? Or would strategic product placement in the shelves work as a meaningful nudge to consumers? Can it include gamification, choice editing, or price levers? When is the best moment to approach the consumer? These are the types of insights we will gather and translate into tools to help public and private decision makers to apply innovative interventions towards sustainable eating.

The project is kicking-off today with a partner meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. It will be delivered by the CSCP in partnership with 20 other European organisations, among universities, research organisations and business. VALUMICS is funded by the European Commission under the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020.

Please contact Mariana Nicolau if you have any questions.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash