The role of consumers in co-creating better diets in Europe: it’s about trust, communication and regulation

When it comes to shaping diets, people’s food choices can have a huge impact. One session of this year’s European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) was devoted to exactly the following: Exploring the role of citizens in multiple governance efforts to Transition to safer, healthier, more sustainable and equitable diets. People’s behavior around food is a complex issue, with trust in the food chain at its core.

While sociologists are still debating the true meaning of the term, trust It is still a good and complex phenomenon. Despite the common narrative, it cannot be built or reconstructed. that it RRust must be happened Each stakeholder deserves it.

Trust is key to positive relationships and is fundamental to how we act and interact with others. It gets more dangerous, and more tenseAnd the When faced with uncertainty. The multiple crises we find ourselves in – the pandemic, the climate crisis, the energy and cost-of-living crises, food insecurity – put our trust and the food system under additional stress. Trust in food systems is exceptionally complex, as it involves a number of different stakeholders sometimes with opposing interests, people’s behavior around food is influenced by a number of cultural, social and economic factors, and our purchasing decisions are driven by price and taste, health, safety and sustainability, not all On an equal footing.

Furthermore, we operate in a nightmare of information quicksand. Never in our history have we had such easy access to this wealth of knowledge as we have today. And our behavior has never been affected by a lack of awareness, misinformation and mistrust. To fill this information gap, we must continue to translate the science of healthy and sustainable diets into digestible packages that people can understand and use. But this is only the first step, since literacy and healthy nutrition, while important, are not decisive in purchasing decisions – price and taste still come first.

So, to really change behavior, we need to do more than improve science communication. We need a shift toward healthy food choices, and toward products and services that facilitate healthy, sustainable diets. Most importantly, we need a paradigm shift in our collective thinking where only a concerted effort will lead to healthy, sustainable diets, backed by healthy, sustainable diets.

The food safety system in Europe, with its globally recognized achievements, did not arise from good intentions alone. It was driven by strong and clear regulations. Today, as we face multiple converging crises, we urgently need a sustainable food system. At EPHA, we believe that such a comprehensive transition will not only come with good intentions – it will need strong and clear regulation. Just like a file general food law Paving the way for Europe’s food safety system, the next legislative framework for Europe’s food systems should make for a healthy and sustainable food system.

A key aspect of this change will be the One Health principle, which puts the health of people, the planet and animals at the center. Earlier this year, EPHA published a position paper on Why Europe needs a healthy food policy, with One Health as the leading vision. We offer concrete proposals on how our farm-to-fork strategy and the upcoming Sustainable Food Systems Act can support all people in their aspirations to eat healthily and sustainably. This is especially by creating enabling food environments for healthy and sustainable diets, and Sensitive Nutrition Approach for cultivation.

In conclusion, to win consumers’ trust and influence behaviour, science and technology are not enough. It requires perseverance, honesty and reliability from all stakeholders. If we are insuring a purchase inWe must make sure we listen. We must be where the discussion is taking place, we must talk to people and not people, we must hear and acknowledge their concerns. In doing so, we must Do not shy away from emotions. We must be consistent and continuous, coordinating messages between stakeholders. Only with strong trust will we be able to attract consumers to innovations and food systems that can push the European Union towards A healthier and more sustainable future.

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