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Optimising the transfer of information

nudging and labelling as approaches to communicate food characteristics related tot sustainability at higher educational institutions

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Optimising the transfer of information

nudging and labelling as approaches to communicate food characteristics related tot sustainability at higher educational institutions

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

Sustainable agriculture can have a great impact on the growing population, food availability and food distribution on our planet. Our choice for or against particular foods and its characteristics is giving the decisive vote for the volume of production. More precise, for the products demand and market share i.e. for industrial livestock production (low priced), synthetic or natural additives (efficiency), quality (fair work and environmental footprint), etc. Sustainable foods are characterised by their organic and local certification. Sustainable food production increases the biodiversity of plants and mitigates the change of the climate due to the utilisation of natural resources – such as fertilizer - and environmentally friendly processing. This is bringing more social equality (fair trade), bearing in mind that it is rich in its nutritional value and therefore healthier for the planet and consequently for us, if we compare it to non-organic food and its production. But are we really aware of these facts? Who makes us conscious and how?
The HZ University of Applied Sciences is dealing with this topic. Classes are given for different field studies, accompanied by practical elements such as events and researches. The catering of the higher educational institution is also trying to walk the talk by offering its customers a variety of organic, local and fair trade products that accounts for approximately one fifth of the revenue (January 2015). However, the canteen aims to increase its sales volume for sustainable products. For this reason, it is required to analyse how the catering can transfer information which are related to the characteristics of its sustainable food. Efforts are being made on higher educational institutions around the world. As the geographical and sociocultural positions deviate, so are the approaches to create and communicate sustainable food (systems) – including its characteristics – varying too. The HZ catering oriented on the approaches of other institutions to intervene on a comparable manner and achieve the studied positive effect. To communicate this development and increase thereby sales volume of sustainable food, the interviewed catering staff suggests different foods and tools to promote the sustainable food range, its availability and characteristics. By implementing the new sustainable meal salads and alternatively non-organic meal salads the researcher aimed to create a food choice. A local and organic farmer is contacted to support the undertaking and deliver the experimental food for the experimental period, while the non-organic food is purchased from the caterings´ wholesaler.
After the experimental phase it turned out that product availability affects the customers’ food choice. However, the term “organic” is relevant or understood by less than half of the students. In spite of the fact that screen advertisement -for sustainable products- in the atrium attracts a minority, is the actual demand for new products given. The customers of the HZ catering need more education about sustainable food and the difference to non-organic food. Most of the customers are students who are suffering from insufficient background knowledge regarding food, due to the fact that the choice between two identic looking salads leads not to the choice of one. The students put both salads together in their salad bowl and try to get convinced by the difference of their tastes. As the price is equal to other salads, this factor does not set a barrier for the choice.
By focusing on more classes teaching food systems the general information flow increases. According to literature, it is recommended to promote sustainable foods and its characteristics frequently, and provide free bites for new foods to the customers. Asking the customer immediately for a feedback - regarding the new taste - can contribute to the decision for keeping or eliminating the product in the assortment. Targeted education for the catering staff can increase the knowledge about the products that are used by the catering staff to prepare meals in the kitchen. Frequent campaigns and a constantly increasing range of sustainable characterised foods can help to nudge customers towards more organic, local and fair trade product choices. The sustainable characterised food should be presented differently to set it apart and let the food appear more attractive than other foods which have less sustainable characteristics.

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OrganisatieHZ University of Applied Sciences
OpleidingInternational Business & Management Studies
AfdelingAcademie voor Economie & Management
PartnersHZ University of Applied Sciences, Vlissingen
Datum2015-08-31
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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