Behavioural economics may be a tool to tackle healthy habits, Kellogg's

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Psychology Health

Kellogg’s is hoping to shed some light on consumer behaviour and healthy lifestyles at a meeting of experts next month, which could translate into new products and marketing solutions.

Kellogg’s European Breakfast Club is hosting a symposium looking at how consumers are motivated to adopt healthier or more sustainable habits and the role that industry can play.

The event will take place on 12 July in Brussels and one of the questions on the agenda will be how behavioural insights can be incorporated into product design to promote healthy and sustainable consumption.

It will also look at where industry responsibility ends and that of policy makers and consumers’ begins.

Better decisions

A spokesperson for Kellogg’s told that insights into how people behave can inform initiatives to “steer consumers toward better decisions while preserving consumer choice”.

The spokesperson said: “Drawing on lessons from behavioural economics, which looks at social, cognitive and emotional factors in understanding consumer behaviour, we will look at how these factors can be taken into account in different settings, such as product purchase promotions, choice editing and so forth, as a means to influence behavioural change.

“This symposium will gather the input of leading experts and consumer insight specialists to pinpoint the main drivers of consumer behaviour. It also aims to identify the means for bringing about better choices on a societal level, including the roles of policymakers, industry and civil society.”

The spokesperson added that companies might use this information for future marketing and it could “potentially trickle down into future products”.

Platform for debate

Kellogg’s breakfast club was launched in 2008 and members include policy makers, NGOs, IGOs and consumer groups. It aims to provide a platform that encourages dialogue and relationship building in and amongst key stakeholders.

This latest event is geared towards a larger audience and it is hoped it will become an annual symposium.

The spokesperson highlighted that although it is Kellogg’s sponsored, there is no commercial objective, adding: “This is a particularly interesting issue for Kellogg so we wanted to provide a platform for debate as well as be part of the discussion.”

The debate is about healthier lifestyles with a focus on encouraging physical activity, as well as improved consumer and shopper choice for healthier balanced diet products.

Public/private partnerships

Also, evidence from behavioural economics and social psychology has led to the conclusion that businesses, NGOs and local authorities are key players when health and wellbeing are concerned. And it is hoped that stakeholders could work together, with partnerships between companies or public/private partnerships .

One example of how this might work is the UK’s Change4Life campaign, which married companies and NGOS in order to promote healthier eating and lifestyles.

However, such initiatives are not always universally well-received as Change4Life’s anti-obesity campaign was criticised in some quarters for allowing sponsorship from food companies whose products were said to be “contributing to obesity”.

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