Overview of the FoodRisC project. Aine McConnon. University College Dublin, Ireland


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  • SWOT stands for Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT matrix is a strategic planning tool to bring together all things that need to be put into consideration while making decisions.
  • SM facilitate the provision of consumer feedback on messages, reports, articles and so on, which allows for a more in-depth understanding of how consumers react to current communication of an issue and enables the communicator to gain an understanding of the general public feelings on the food issue in question Unlike traditional media which operates under a more rigid publishing process of regulated journalism, stricter editorial guidelines, few checks are their for social media users. Given that every individual has the ability to publish content on social media, this may result in the distribution of inaccurate and misleading information
  • Peak 1: May 31 st The German Scientific institute admitted that the Spanish cucumbers were not responsible for the EHEC outbreak Peak 2: June 5 th Sprouts from a German organic farm were suspected of being the source of the EHEC outbreak
  • Key consumer alignments to the communication of risk and benefit information will also be explored in the FoodRisC project. This research will comprise three work packages (see Figure 2) and will involve a) characterisation of how consumers respond to information (Work package 3) b) characterisation of consumers’ information seeking behaviour (Work package 4) and c) exploration of the role and potential use of deliberative engagement in food risk/benefit communication (Work package 5) .
  • Good communication practice seeks to bridge the divides between scientific experts, policy makers, practitioners and consumers Consumers are not passive receivers of information – this is especially true in the age of social media as Christine has shown This is apparent when we look at the risk communication principles which are advised time and again
  • How are consumers supposed to react “rationally” in face of all the conflicting and confusing advice/information. We’re interested in looking at how consumers react to conflicting/confusing advice – what factors influence their perceptions, reactions, feelings, behaviours etc… Knowing this will also more targeted & evidence based communication
  • Scenarios (vignettes) designed to present participants with conflicting/confusing information. Participants then asked series of questions to elicit information on feelings, views & future behaviour We are analysing 1000 comments from two articles about the risks of eating red meat – these articles were on the BBC website These quotes show how consumers react with frustration and scepticism towards the red meat risk story – there is a backlash towards these types of food risk stories which is worrying for communicators who want to try and provide sound nutritional and dietary advice to consumers We need to understand first why consumers are responding like this, and secondly how we can target communication strategies to overcome this type of backlash and meet consumers information needs and concerns
  • This work will provide a) quantitative insight into the main determinants of risk and benefit information seeking b) consumer segmentation in relation to preferences for use of communication channels c) experimental evidence on the ways in which online information seeking strategies are affected by the provision of risk and benefit information d) details on what information consumers seek from official bodies about food risk/benefits in crisis and non-crisis situations
  • This work will consider how consumers make sense of information in the context of two-way information exchange and deliberation, and will involve the development of a web-based communication tool The overall objective of this work is to develop and test a tool that aims to facilitate the efficient and effective deliberative engagement between communicators and particular groups of consumers whose views and concerns they wish to engage with It will provide communicators with access to consumer reasoning around risk and benefit and provide concrete measures of the extent to which consumers attend to and reflect upon the information with which they are provided
  • PD tool E.g. level of uncertainty, message format, audience characteristics
  • Overview of the FoodRisC project. Aine McConnon. University College Dublin, Ireland

    2. 2. FoodRisC• FP7 EU project (2.9 million euro)• Funded under Theme 2: Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnology• Led by University College Dublin• 13 partners (research institutes, consumer organisations, SMEs), 9 Member States• June 2010 – October 2013
    3. 3. What’s it all about..• Investigating perceptions and communication of food risks and benefits across Europe in order to develop effective communication strategies • Conflicting & confusing advice on food safety & nutrition • Experts/stakeholders – who can we trust? • Explosion of social media – online news, twitter, blogs, forums….. • Enabling effective communication on food issues
    4. 4. 1990-”There is no risk to public health from British beef!”
    5. 5. Public perception of risk“The risks that kill you are notnecessarily the risks that angerand frighten you.” Peter M. Sandman
    6. 6. Overall Objectives1. Describe key configurations of food risk and benefit relationships and the implications for communicators2. Explore the potential of new social media and provide guidance on how risk communicators can best use these media for food risk and benefit communication3. Characterise the ways in which consumers attain, interpret, respond to and utilise information to help target populations and tailor messages Develop a communication toolkit and ‘best practice’ recommendations to help EU wide organisations improve their communication, information, and education services to the public
    7. 7. Overview of Project
    8. 8. Supported by a distinguishedadvisory panel.. • European Food Safety Authority • Food and Drink Europe • EU Food Law Weekly publication • University of Surrey • University of Minnesota • Food Safety Authority of Ireland • European Association of Craft & Small and Medium sized Enterprises
    9. 9. Social Media Biggest shift since the industrial revolution!! lds have w atched TV70% of 1 8-34 year oo n the web Years to reach 50 million users: radio: 38 TV:13 Internet:4 ipod: 3 facebook: 100 million users in less than 9 MONTHS!! Jan 08: 25% of Americans said that they watched a short video on their phone
    10. 10. How can food risk and benefitcommunication take full advantage of social media?
    11. 11. SurveySurvey: Key people at decision making positions from 6 European countries were interviewed
    12. 12. SWOT MATRIX
    13. 13. i.e.• To gain an in-depth understanding of how consumers react to a reported food issue via monitoring their feedbacks• Dissemination of inaccurate information
    14. 14. Case Study • Coverage amount by time by channel • Media content analysis
    15. 15. Case study ---- SM coverageamount analysis
    16. 16. The Role of the Consumerin Communication Good communication practice seeks to bridge the divides between scientific experts, policy makers, practitioners and consumers Key Risk Communication Principles: •Engage and interact with the public •The public should be a key stakeholder in the communication process •Understand and acknowledge public risk perceptions •Listen and respond to public information needs and concerns We need to engage with and understand consumers, beginning with the 3 information-relevant dimensions of consumer behaviour: responding, seeking, and deliberating
    17. 17. WP3: How do consumers respond?• How do consumers behave when faced with conflicting advice on what is healthy/safe to eat? “Everything is bad for you, everything is going “All this article and to increase your risk of comments are doing is something or other....” making me want to take my friends out for bacon burgers and never ever worry about health ever again”
    18. 18. WP4:Do consumers seek information? How do you deal with new information on food? Please, indicate to what Imagine a news item on extent you agree with each of the following each of the following topics caught your statements. attention. How likely wouldImagine you saw a news you be to go and searchitem on each of the for additional information?following topics, how likelywould you be to give ityour full attention?
    19. 19. WP5: How do consumersdeliberate on information? • How do consumers make sense of information in the context of two-way information exchange? • Provide data on • consumer reasoning around risk and benefit • the extent to which consumers attend to and reflect upon the information with which they are provided
    20. 20. How we’re answeringthese questions… 1. A Pan-European Web-based Survey (n=7200) a)Characterising consumer responses to risk/benefit information b)Investigating the role of information seeking 2. Novel Research Tools - Vizzata c)Characterise the role of deliberative engagement
    21. 21. 1. Pan-European Web-Based Survey • 9 countries: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom • N = 7, 200 consumers • Representative sample for gender, age and region • Pan-European online panel • 40minute questionnaire • Vignette methodology and validated psychometric tests
    22. 22. 2. Vizzata: An OnlineDeliberative Tool • This online tool facilitates participant deliberation on food risk and benefit information • Key elements: • Focus on two-way interaction • Focus on eliciting questions/comments • Tracking information seeking behaviours • Allows researchers to set up new multi-page surveys • Allows qual and quant style survey questions • Present content (text, images, videos) to participants
    23. 23. The FoodRisC toolkit Characterize tools, target Food risks/benefits Consumers’ Preferred risk/benefit Perceived barriers to effective Characterize risks/benefits and population groups, information conceptualization knowledge and use communication routes risk/benefit communication crises currently and potentially sources and media channels(population groups & of risk/benefit and tools (population (population groups & involved in benefit/risk currently and potentially stakeholders) communications groups & stakeholders) stakeholders) communication involved in benefit/risk communication Synthesis of the research data FoodRisC Media FoodRisC Engagement FoodRisC Process FoodRisC Method Channels Choice tool Tool Design Tool Selection Tool FoodRisC Tool-kit Developing common approaches and tools for communication
    24. 24. The toolsMedia channel Process design Method selection VizzataselectionAssist best Identify the Identify the most to enable meaningfulpractice in elements of the effective methods deliberation withchoosing the most context that need for eliciting consumers andappropriate to be taken into consumer stakeholders andcommunication account in perspectives on obtain speedychannel(s) , when developing & food specific consumer reactionscommunicating on implementing a issue(s) across to shape riskfood risks and/or communication Europe. communicationfood benefits. strategy. messages
    25. 25. Thank you for listening. For more info... aine.mcconnon@ucd.ie www.foodrisc.orgLook for us on Twitter / Facebook