Food RisC – Perceptions and communication of food risks and benefits across Europe

European Commission
Start date:
July 2010
June 2013

The purpose of this project is to identify and characterise food risk/benefit issues and the consequent implications for risk communicators across Europe. It will provide a systematic understanding of how consumers deal with information about risks and benefits relating to food, identifying key social-psychological and socio-demographic characteristics that affect perceptions, as well as preferred communication channels. The project will also identify the barriers to communicating with consumers across Europe and will make recommendations about the unique potential of new social media to communicate food risk/benefit information. These objectives will be achieved through a range of methods and novel approaches to extend the theoretical basis of how people will acquire and use information in food domains. This will include the development and use of an online deliberative tool, referred to as EnGauge, to evaluate expert generated communications about food risk and benefit. This phase of the work will build on a previous project entitled ‘Online deliberative engagement: a pilot study’, which tested the use of such a tool in allowing people to consider and respond to scientific information online.

The impact of the project will be at a European level, facilitated through the development of a ‘FoodRisC’ toolkit and practical guidance to enable the effective delivery of coherent messages about food risk/benefit across the Member states. Use of the toolkit and guides will assist policy makers, food authorities and other end users in the food supply chain, in developing common approaches to communicating messages on food risk/benefit to consumers. The effective communication of such information will assist initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of food related ill-health and the economic impact of food crises, and will help to ensure that consumer confidence in safe and nutritional food is fostered and maintained across Europe

Brook Lyndhurst was involved in the first year of the project, which will run for a further two years, until June 2013. For further information visit the FoodRisC website.

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