PLAN’EAT - Food Systems Transformation Towards Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Behaviour

1 September 2022 - 31 August 2026
The PLAN’EAT consortium at the kick-off-meeting in Rome, October 2022

The PLAN’EAT consortium at the kick-off-meeting in Rome, October 2022.

Current approaches to improving dietary behaviour mostly focus on individual responsibility. However, many factors influencing individual behaviours occur at the level of the food system and the food environment, outside of consumers’ control. Therefore, the dynamic and complex interplay of environmental, social, cultural, and behavioural factors needs to be better understood in order to influence dietary behaviour. Started in September 2022, the PLAN’EAT project fosters the transition to healthy and sustainable dietary behaviour through an in-depth understanding of its underlying factors and drivers and through the design of effective recommendations, tools and interventions targeting food system actors. PLAN’EAT aims at implementing an evidence-based, multi-actor approach at macro (food system), meso (food environment) and micro (individual) levels. The knowledge and scientific evidence obtained will feed into the co-design of more than 10 effective solutions adjusted to different contexts and end-users.

PLAN’EAT will bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and behavioural and policy changes by fostering collaboration between science, policymakers, food system actors, and consumers through stakeholder analysis and engagement across Europe. It will result in a comprehensive mix of interventions for different stakeholders and across levels of governments, setting out what courses of action are most effective in different contexts. EUFIC will facilitate this by leading an analysis of barriers and enablers influencing social and physical food environments.

PLAN’EAT will appraise eco-agri-food systems across 9 European countries (DE, IE, FR, SE, PL, HU, ES, IT, EL) using participative approaches and an integrated systemic approach from macro to micro level. A combination of systemic, environmental, and individual factors influencing dietary behaviour will be studied to identify key leverage points associated with high behavioural change potential.

PLAN’EAT will define a framework to translate the analyses of factors at the food system and environment levels into easy-to-understand food-based dietary guidelines, for specific local contexts, dietary patterns, and population groups. These localised guidelines will empower citizens to make informed and accessible choices as a win-win for their health and the environment, as they are tailored to their local food environments, culture, age, health, and socio-economic status.

As part of this approach, PLAN’EAT will develop a system of decision tree networks to personalise dietary advice. A novel web-based dietary recommender system will be proposed to make personalised meal plan suggestions. The tool will be grounded upon a knowledge base of validated options and guidelines regarding daily nutritional intake, eating habits and dietary patterns. This procedural approach of mixing various AI techniques will be the first to be applied and validated within different European contexts.

PLAN’EAT will draw on the results of existing dietary and environmental education initiatives and provide an innovative educational toolbox, encompassing all the project insights from behavioural, socio-cultural and financial aspects. It will help practitioners to design effective, motivational, and action-based interventions targeting teachers, students (and their families) and other local actors. EUFIC will be leading the development of the toolbox for innovative behavioural change interventions, adjusted to various socio-cultural-geographic contexts and several population groups.

Furthermore, EUFIC will co-lead the communication, dissemination, and exploitation activities of the project. Among others, it will develop a communication and dissemination plan for all partners to follow, emphasizing generating visibility and awareness for the project and engaging and empowering stakeholders to build up on the outcomes.