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Sustainable Eaters - Consumers in a sustainable Norwegian food system

Alternative title: Sustainable Eaters - Forbrukere i et bærekraftig norsk matsystem

Awarded: NOK 30.1 mill.

The entire value chain for food must be reconsidered in terms of streamlining the use of resources, reducing food waste, and adapting diets. Through five work packages and four case studies, the Sustainable Eaters project will increase the understanding of and strengthen consumers' contribution to a sustainable Norwegian food system. The project will increase Norwegian competitiveness in several areas through innovative industrial solutions for packaging, shelf life and labeling of foods, new teaching resources for schools, and new strategies for reducing food waste. The project results will provide a basis for new political recommendations. The project brings together 27 partners from research, industry, non-profit organizations and the public sector, and employs four Ph.D. fellows. In 2021, the project has worked in particular on consumer profiles, food demand systems, learning packages, redistribution of surplus food, and packaging design for source sorting. Consumer profiles: Statistical analyses of the ?Norsk Monitor? consumer survey from 2019 led to the mapping of three different consumer profiles based on personality traits (e.g. willingness to change), values and attitudes towards the environment. Segment 1: High environmental awareness and impulsive/spontaneous, Segment 2: Medium environmental consciousness, planner, preoccupied with taste, Segment 3: Low environmental consciousness, no bad conscience for wasting food. Based on the model, Segment 1 is expected to be motivated for sustainable behaviours but may have a hard time implementing these; Segment 2 is motivated and good at implementing but may have a hard time changing existing habits, while Segment 3 is unmotivated for sustainable behaviour change. Food demand system: Data were collected and conceptual models were developed to estimate a food demand system for different consumer groups. The estimated demand elasticities will be valuable by themselves, but will also be used to update the agricultural sector model Jordmod. Data has also been collected to update the model for a new base year that reflects the situation in agriculture better than the model's current base year 2014. Learning packages: Theory has been developed, where transformative learning is the foundation, for two learning packages to be implemented and tested in upper secondary schools. The learning packages focus on a holistic learning design that includes both preparation for teaching, the actual teaching session and assessment. Learning package 1 has an interdisciplinary approach that includes the subjects ?food and health? as well as ?natural sciences? and is proposed to be integrated in 9th grade. The framework uses exploratory learning to engage students in leftover food challenges. The learning package encourages collaboration with home by equipping students to test in school and use the competence at home. Learning package 2 has a transdisciplinary approach and includes the subjects ?KRLE, social studies, Norwegian and science? and is proposed to be integrated in 10th grade. The framework that is used encourages collective exploration and collective solution orientation to explore and understand food systems. By participating in learning package 2 students are equipped to collaborate with and solve real challenges with various local actors in the food system. In the next step, a quasi-experimental method will be used to evaluate teaching methods. Distribution of surplus food: Interviews with 13 people from the three food chains, food distributors, food producers and public and charitable organizations were conducted in the autumn of 2021. The results reveal, among other things, that one of the food chains does not want to donate surplus food to After school programmes (ASP). They do not see it as their task to sponsor public organizations, and they want to ensure that Tromsø Matsentral gets enough food for the poor who need it most. Another chain suggested that schools could get 1st priority to buy food with a short shelf life at a reduced price. Tromsø Food Bank welcomes collaboration with the SFOs because they collect more food than what they can distribute to their users. This would allow them to feed children from low-resource families also at ASP. Several ASPs lack employees with the competence and time to pick up surplus food at the shops and prepare it. Impractical ASP kitchens are also a challenge. One suggested solution is for the ASP food to be prepared in a central kitchen. Packaging design for source sorting: A guide to help packaging designers understand how the packaging can be designed to make it easier for the consumer to correctly sort it for recycling has been developed and published on Green Dot Norway's website.

There is no way around it: consumers must contribute to the shift toward a sustainable future. Slow progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals combined with high ambitions to reach the Paris-agreement, require that we re-think our food systems at multiple levels.?There is a particular need to change food-related behavior as the food system is characterized by high emissions, and, at the same time, impacts public health, trade and industry, and the environment in various ways. Sustainable Eaters contributes with sound scientific advancements and pioneering innovations in the industry and public sectors to support a more sustainable food system in interaction with the consumer. By placing the consumer in the center of the research, the objective is met by increasing our understanding of individuality in consumer behavior for food choices (WP1), studying the impact of behavioural change on the Norwegian value chain (WP2), and guiding consumers through knowledge and awareness (WP3) and technical solutions (WP4). Timely and pertinent case studies align with the research carried out in the WPs, and showcase specific possibilities and barriers towards a more sustainable food system. Using a wide range of quantitative and qualitative methods, experiments, and communication techniques, the project will develop comprehensible strategies to reduce food waste and plastic materials, and to increase awareness on the sensibility of food choices for health, climate, and the segments of the food value chain. Sustainable Eaters convenes 8 academic institutions in 5 countries and 18 user partners ranging from food industry businesses and NGOs to public authorities, in addition to an international advisory board, leading to a strong and multidisciplinary partnership.

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Thematic Areas and Topics

Fornyelse og innovasjon i offentlig sektorInnovasjonsprosjekter og prosjekter med forpliktende brukermedvirkningPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderSkog, landbruk og matLavutslippLTP2 Innovasjon i stat og kommuneLTP2 Klima, polar og miljøHavbrukLTP2 Marine bioressurser og havforvaltningPortefølje Energi, transport og lavutslippLTP2 Et kunnskapsintensivt næringsliv i hele landetResponsible Research & InnovationFornyelse og innovasjon i offentlig sektorPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderKlimaPortefølje Humaniora og samfunnsvitenskapPortefølje Naturvitenskap og teknologiBransjer og næringerFiskeri og havbrukHavbrukSamfunns- og markedsperspektiver havbrukMatMat - Grønn sektorPortefølje Demokrati, styring og fornyelseBioøkonomiMarinHavbrukBransjer og næringerNæringsmiddelindustriPortefølje Klima- og polarforskningLandbrukLandbrukFôr og ernæringMarinFiskeriMatMatNæringsmiddel og foredlingLTP2 Bioøkonomi og forvaltningLTP2 Klima, miljø og miljøvennlig energiBransjer og næringerLandbrukLTP2 Styrket konkurransekraft og innovasjonsevnePortefølje LivsvitenskapLandbrukSamfunns- og markedsperspektiver landbrukMarinMatMat - Blå sektorMatMat - BlågrønnPortefølje Industri og tjenestenæringerBioøkonomiSektorovergripende bioøkonomiAnvendt forskningPortefølje Landbasert mat, miljø og bioressurserInternasjonaliseringMatMat, helse og velværeLTP2 Miljøvennlig energi og lavutslippsløsningerResponsible Research & InnovationRRI MedvirkningBransjer og næringerBioøkonomiØvrig bioøkonomiInternasjonaliseringInternasjonalt prosjektsamarbeidPolitikk- og forvaltningsområderMiljø, klima og naturforvaltningKlimaKlimaeffekter og klimatilpasningerFNs BærekraftsmålFNs BærekraftsmålMål 12 Ansvarlig forbruk og produksjonPortefølje HavBransjer og næringerMiljø - NæringsområdePolitikk- og forvaltningsområderFiskeri og kystGrunnforskningLTP2 Hav