Webinar: Facilitating the Healthy and Sustainable Diet Shift through Effective Communication in Communities with Low Socioeconomic Status

Last Updated : 27 November 2023
Table of contents

    The need and urgency to shift to a healthier and more sustainable food system is widely acknowledged. However, vulnerable populations, particularly those with low socio-economic status (SES), face multiple challenges that make it harder to eat in a sustainable and healthy way. To support the transition towards healthier and more sustainable lifestyles, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC) hosted the webinar “Facilitating the Healthy and Sustainable Diet Shift through Effective Communication in Communities with Low Socioeconomic Status” on Thursday 23 November 2023 to showcase the results of their research with social supermarkets customers (native Italians and immigrants) that was conducted together with Caritas Trieste in Italy.  

    This collaborative effort comes at a crucial time as the global community grapples with the impact of dietary choices on both human health and the environment. The Global Burden of Disease study has underscored the significance of the diet in determining health outcomes, attributing 11 million deaths and 255 million disability-adjusted life years to dietary risk factors such as high sodium intake and low consumption of whole grains and fruits. At the same time, food production is perhaps the largest contributor to environmental degradation, threatening both climate stability and the resilience of our ecosystems. 

    During the webinar, EUFIC explained the hurdles to adopting healthy and sustainable diets in communities with low SES and shared evidence-based recommendations on how to tailor information about healthy and sustainable diets to address their needs and concerns.

    Better communication

    Despite financial insecurity being the main determinant for food choices, the research found that changing behaviour is achievable within low-income communities.

    Creating effective communication about healthy and sustainable eating directed to these demographics is vital to increase consumers motivation and skills, to approach healthier diets. Communication necessitates the use of visual elements, providing accessible and practical recipes, and raising awareness about the advantages of such dietary choices. Researchers found the need to place a stronger focus on communicating on food-related risks of climate change (e.g., higher food prices, lower food quality and availability), rather than putting emphasis on general recommendations about healthy and sustainable eating.

    Results also showed the need to ensure information is available in various languages. Inclusivity could be also incorporated by including culinary traditions of migrants, offering adaptations that respect their cultural preferences.  

    The Q&As during the live presentation can be found here.

    The evidence-based recommendations can be downloaded here.