To help consumers make healthy choices, we need to understand human behaviour. We need to know, for example, how labels on food are understood, how images on food packaging influence our perceptions, or how our beliefs about diet, nutrition and health shape our consumption behaviour. We need to test what factors influence food choice and purchase, how we can improve healthy shopping baskets and what makes consumers eat the food they eat. This is why EUFIC carries out consumer research. There is a wide range of methods that we use, both qualitative (i.e. when you study a smaller group of people to better understand thought processes) and quantitative (i.e. when you analyse a larger group of people to see if patterns emerge and which consumer segments are similar or dissimilar in their behaviour). We survey consumers, we interview them, we observe or discuss in focus groups and we analyse data sets to answer the many questions we have.
“Working with EUFIC has been a great opportunity to carry out pan-European research – studying people from different countries, comparing their answers and mapping consumer behaviour in the food, health and wellness sector has contributed to shaping our understanding of consumers in Europe," says Professor Klaus G. Grunert, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Dr. Sophie Hieke, EUFIC Head of Consumer Science, explains what are the main reasons behind food waste according to the latest consumer research.