Food information in the social media era: Analysing consumers' practices

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Food information in the social media era: Analysing consumers' practices

  1. 1. COMMUNICATING FOOD FOR HEALTH BENEFITS NEW FOOD TRENDS AND MEANINGS  PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES AND FOOD COMMUNICATION  INNOVATIVE PRACTICES IN COMMUNICATION 8th – 9th November, 2012TARRAGONA Haga clic para modificar el estilo de subtítulo del patrón Food information in the social media era: Analysing consumers’ practices Mònica Lores Universitat Rovira i Virgili
  2. 2. Information of food issues and nutrition and how it affects to our healthis becoming a great concern among population.A myriad of different sources are delivering food messages;ranging from mass media, public institutions, food industry, consumersorganisation, health professionals to social environment like friends andfamily. Difficulties for lay people Contradictory messages and the of making judgments information available could have a about which foods one detrimental affect on the publics should choose. ability to understand messages about food risks.
  3. 3. Effective food communication is paramount for food safety agencies,experts and stakeholders and, the Internet, and social media channels are seen as a properly tools to achieve it. They have expectations and pressure to adopt them. But are consumers willing to use them?
  4. 4. Research DataMethodology: Countries involved: Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and Spain Discourse analysis of 99 in-depth interviews with consumers (stratified consumer sample) Thematic qualitative coding with QSR International’s NVivo 8 and NVivo9 Data collection: December 2010 - April 2011
  5. 5. Consumers’ perceptions on SMHow consumers define a Social Media channel?: They do not make a distinction between the Internet and SM channels Use of SM channels but not recognision of the term (instead use of “internet” or “google”) Confusion between the terms “Social Media” and “Social Networks” (mainly Facebook and Twitter)
  6. 6. Consumers’ perceptions on SMWhich are the uses of Social Media?:- For entertainment (keeping in contact with friends and family)- They don’t currently use social media for food risk and benefit information- They use online websites (media, official institutions…).
  7. 7. Consumers’ perceptions on SM SM for food R/B information Positive views Negative views• SM is the channel where everyone is • Concern of the credibility of the source when using consumer-generated media:• An extra source of information is a positive  Environment tends to source anonymity thing  Democratisation of contents  Vested interests in socio-political topic• To target different population groups (ability to find exactly what you are looking for) • SM is not the place for having a serious conversation• Interested on topic of food as leisure (looking up cooking recipes, restaurants reviews, ...) • Infoxication Need for filter• In a food crisis situation: quick up-to-date • In a food crisis situation: it could create alarmism
  8. 8. Consumers’ perceptions: Sources of information• Information from other consumers From peers: People in the same personal situation → Blogs and forums are the channels more used because the information is discussed thoroughly and they can post their questions. From “the mass”: Participants consider useful the information provided by the public in general when searching for a general idea. For example, Wikipedia. But these messages are not very reliable for food and health information.To shatter the “information monopoly” (Radin 2006). It is the user who control the way the information isfound.• Information from the expertsIt is considered the most reliable and trustworthy sources of information. However, some participants were notvery interested in contacting the experts trough the Social Media channels.
  9. 9. Conclusions•Most participants trust on the information provided by experts.•But, lay people is not interested in institutional messages through the SM channels = Experts’ fail in investigating and discovering consumers’ needs/interests first.•Blogs and forums are suitable channels for obtaining food information. The reasons are: • More in depth information (and “specialized”) • They offer links to other blogs / forums / websites (filter function) • Food bloggers activity is growing because they focus on different food issues more appealing for the public•Experts should create alliances (networking) with food bloggers/community managers rather that using new digital journalists as old journalists.• SM is about giving voice to the “public”, therefore, experts need to apply participative strategies: “information monopoly”.
  10. 10. COMMUNICATING FOOD FOR HEALTH BENEFITS NEW FOOD TRENDS AND MEANINGS  PROFESSIONAL IDENTITIES AND FOOD COMMUNICATION  INNOVATIVE PRACTICES IN COMMUNICATION 8th – 9th November, 2012TARRAGONA Haga clic para modificar el estilo de subtítulo del patrón Thanks for your attention monica.lores@urv.cat

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