How to Encourage Individual Contributions to Reduce Food Borne Risks

  • Johannes Simons Institute for Agricultural Policy, Market Research and Economic Sociology
  • Anne Katrin Lensch Institute for Agricultural Policy, Market Research and Economic Sociology
Keywords: impacts of information, education, health risks, food and diet, cost and benefit

Abstract

Many areas of precautionary health policy require cooperation of citizens, e.g. avoiding health risks through an adequate diet. A common approach to achieve the necessary cooperation is providing people with information on risk and, consequently, encouraging them to change their behaviour. This paper explains the limits of such educational approach. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews; the results are presented as costs and benefits of perceiving and processing information. This helps to identify driving factors as well as obstacles for implementing information into behaviour. As a result, this paper recommends improving the efficacy of the educational approach in particular by (1) adapting information better to consumers' needs, and (2) using attractive images to point out the benefits of behavioural changes. Another way to facilitate a healthier diet is to offer products, which hardly require a change in behaviour, e.g. functional food or "healthy" fast food. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0601153

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Author Biographies

Johannes Simons, Institute for Agricultural Policy, Market Research and Economic Sociology
Dr. Johannes SIMONS, Agricultural Economist. His current field of research are consumers' perception of food quality and food risks, the impact of knowledge and perception on purchase and nutritional behaviour, the institutional framework of food safety policy, and food policy relating to improving diets. Senior Lecturer at the Department of Agricultural and Food Market Research
Anne Katrin Lensch, Institute for Agricultural Policy, Market Research and Economic Sociology
Anne Katrin LENSCH, Dipl.-Oecotroph/Food economist. Since 2003, she has been Graduate Research Assistant at the Department of Agricultural and Food Market Research at the University of Bonn, Germany. Her research interests are health related communication and its impact on consumers' decisions, functional foods as well as health and nutrition claims, and behavioural and information economics. She is currently engaged in a doctorate research at the University of Bonn.
Published
2006-01-31
Section
Government, Regulation and Risk