Understanding how to shift consumer behaviour towards healthy & sustainable diets.

Posted by Emily Pitman on the 24th March, 2020

Working with IGD to foster behavioural change.
Our attention is turned to unique circumstances at the moment, which continue to feed into the ongoing challenges around health and environmental impact. There is much focus on the role of the food we produce, consume and waste as part of this debate and overwhelming evidence that our diets are also impacting the planet.

As humans, we don’t always make rational decisions. Food can be especially emotive and is often a source of pleasure. Anyone that has tried to change any behaviour and particularly when it comes to their eating habits, will tell you that change isn’t easy, and sustaining a new habit is even harder.

We’re super proud to share some work we did with IGD and their stakeholders across the food industry – across an exciting program of research with the aim to identify how to help consumers transition towards healthier and more sustainable diets. It was key to understand whether there is understanding and acceptance of the need for change, what would motivate diet change (and what are the barriers) and ultimately how can consumers be supported in the transition towards healthy and sustainable eating.

So, how did we go about tackling these huge questions?
We took a comprehensive approach blending methodologies to better understand behavior and how to encourage change. We started with an online behavioural study in the form of a diary to understand food consumption in real time, rather than stated and often poorly remembered past behaviour.

We tested behaviour change initiatives in depth through qualitative focus groups, but also through a large-scale quantitative online implicit study, where we employed rigorous consumer neuroscience techniques to look beyond the rational responses.

Applying behavioural science thinking throughout the research programme, we could better understand the subconscious drivers of consumer behaviour. Furthermore, using Shortcuts – our behavioural science framework – we showed how we can leverage the power of behavioural principles to encourage sustained behavioural change and target consumers at different stages of behaviour change. We worked closely with IGD and ran numerous workshops to upskill teams with behavioural science and engage stakeholders with the research.

It goes without saying that this is one of the most fascinating behavioural change challenges and the positive change will have a long term benefit for us all. If you’d like to hear more about this work, or just want to chat to us about how you can leverage behavioural science, we’d love to hear from you!

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Meet the Team
Emily Pitman
Andreea Tarasescu
Lyn McGregor
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