SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - EuropeUS edition | Asian edition

News > Market Trends

Read more breaking news

 

 
dispatches from ISA conference 2014

Behavioural economist: Do the nutritional thinking for people if you want change

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

09-Apr-2014
Last updated on 09-Apr-2014 at 14:35 GMT2014-04-09T14:35:37Z

“We have to eat several times a day and we can’t be working that out like it’s solving a mathematical problem every time,” according to a behavioural economist.
“We have to eat several times a day and we can’t be working that out like it’s solving a mathematical problem every time,” according to a behavioural economist.
Loading the player...

Consumers don’t really want more nutritional information, they want an easy life, according to a behavioural economist talking at a conference in Brussels.

Speaking at the International Sweetener Association (ISA) Conference last week, Dr Nick Southgate, said that ‘shaping’ the world of consumers would be far more effective in trying to get people to make healthier food choices than trying to educate them on nutrition.

Southgate told FoodNavigator: “It’s a tricky thing where it leaves regulation but I think what people have to consider is that if you’re hoping you can just provide people with better information and educate them to make better choices, then you’ll be disappointed with the outcome. You’ll get some change but not nearly as much as you would have wanted.”

“Whereas if you start to shape the world so that it’s easier for people to make healthy decisions they will start to do it,” he said.

An easy life

He said that diet choices were not always processed on a conscious level. “We have to eat several times a day and we can’t be working that out like it’s solving a mathematical problem every time,” he said.

“We borrow our decisions – or the way I tend to put it we outsource it. So we just eat what’s normal, we eat what’s available, we eat what other people are eating, we eat what we know how to cook. So all of these are decisions not really made on a nutritional level.”

He said that the hope from public health officials may be that food choices are made on a conscious level, but in reality the vast majority of these decisions are made as a “second thought”.

Go with the flow

Picking up on thoughts by another speaker at the event, Professor James Hill, Southgate said that default healthy options could be worth consideration as it removed the choice for consumers who ultimately sought an easy shopping experience. Hill had mentioned food service initiatives in the US whereby customers were given the healthier option automatically unless they requested the unhealthier option which may be bigger or higher in salt, sugar or fat.

Southgate said this kind of technique could be effective as it was more of a “nudge” than a “shove” since it did not remove unhealthy options completely. Southgate told audiences that it would be more effective to “go with the flow of choices people make rather than trying to ‘correct’ their choices”.

Lab meat, plant proteins and insects: Which alternative proteins will feed the world?

Lab meat, plant proteins and insects: Which alternative proteins will feed the world?

The quest for alternatives to animal-derived proteins has led to a huge amount of...

Food firms should prepare for pre-recession spending

Prepare for pre-recession spend – top economist

Food manufacturers should prepare for a positive three years ahead, as the changing economy...

Creepy proteins will be hot

New proteins are creeping on trend

Alternative proteins are a “hot area” of interest and products such as sandwich spreads...

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers: LoSalt survey

Salt reduction not a priority for UK consumers, finds LoSalt survey

Caroline Klinge

sales and marketing manager, LoSalt

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence wins 8m+ YouTube views

‘Nice wine, no corkscrew?’ Mirabeau En Provence solution strikes YouTube gold with 8 million+ views

Mirabeau En Provence owner Stephen Cronk says the desire for a direct consumer connection...

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM claims craft brewer interest in gluten-free beer enzyme

DSM Food Specialities claims that, far from being cautious, craft brewers are embracing the...

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ within supply chain

Smoothie brand Froosh warns of ‘social washing’ on supply chain sustainability

Scandinavia’s top-selling smoothie manufacturer Froosh has called for ‘trade not aid’ in developing countries...

Saturated fat guidelines out, food guidelines in?

Get rid of nutrients and focus on foods in guidelines, says sat fat researcher

Benoit Lamarche

Saturated fat researcher, Laval University

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Saturated fats may not cause heart disease: Researcher

Prof. Philippe Legrand

Director of the biochemistry laboratory, Agrocampus Ouest

Space... the final frontier for food science at Food Vision USA

Space... the final frontier for food science at Food Vision USA

To boldly go... where no food conference has gone before? Space food is on...

How is Californian drought affecting almond supply?

How is Californian drought affecting almond supply?

Stacey Humble

Vice president of global marketing, Almond Board of California

Lights, camera, action! Edible insects in focus at IFT 2015

Lights, camera, action! Edible insects in focus at IFT 2015

No self-respecting food conference would be complete these days without a session on edible...

Flavour tourism: On the trail of Europe's future trends

Flavour tourism: On the trail of Europe's future trends

What will the next flavour trends be, where does inspiration come from and how...

Key trends in food and nutrition: Naturalness, NPD and more co-branding?

Key trends in food and nutrition: Naturalness, NPD and more co-branding?

After a few years of negativity, the industry has a spring in its step...

How to succeed as a start-up in Europe (and not get swallowed by Big Food)

How to succeed as a start-up in Europe (and not get swallowed by Big Food)

Julian Mellentin

Director, New Nutrition Business

What does ‘responsible innovation’ really mean?

What does ‘responsible innovation’ really mean?

Many food firms talk about the need for ‘responsible innovation’, but what does this...

Shifting demands: Where will the growth in healthy foods come from?

Shifting demands: Where will the growth in healthy foods come from?

With an ever increasing consumer demand for healthier food products, many within the industry...

How has social media changed food marketing?

How has social media changed food marketing?

The rise of social media has led to a shift in the way consumers...

Who is responsible for battling the big issues in food?

Who is responsible for battling the big issues in food?

From obesity to malnutrition and water scarcity, the world is facing an ever-growing number...

Key Industry Events