FoodUnfolded®, powered by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food.
FoodUnfolded® (FUN) is a global digital platform designed to reconnect people with their food and empower them to change our food system for the better.
They wanted to know how they can optimize the relevance and impact of their communication, particularly when being confronted with popular media sources that convey a message that is different from the message FUN wants to deliver. In this case the popular Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.
With the help of our Citizen Participation Forum, the European community of conscious consumers, we evaluated the messaging and persuasiveness of FUN. We conducted a case study using some of their more recent communication materials on fisheries and sustainability.
We ran a quasi-experimental design with participants being exposed to FUN’s materials and Seaspiracy, a popular Netflix documentary. We used questionnaires to measure the appeal and persuasiveness of the materials, as well as forum discussions in which participants elaborated on their opinion and discussed among each other. Participants’ attitudes towards fisheries and eating seafood were measured before and after exposure to each of the materials.
We found that the order in which participants watched Seaspiracy or Food Unfolded played a large role in forming participants’ attitudes. Viewing the FUN materials after Seaspiracy appears to have a neutralizing effect. In other words, FUN is effective in balancing out the pessimistic attitudes formed after watching Seaspiracy when it comes to the big picture of eating fish and sustainability. This effect was smaller when participants viewed the FUN materials before watching Seaspiracy. Food Unfolded was effective in balancing out the pessimistic attitudes formed after watching Seaspiracy when it comes to the big picture of eating fish and sustainability.
We recommended that Food Unfolded regards popular (albeit simplistic) publications and media such as Seaspiracy not as information that needs to be rectified, but rather built-upon. Food Unfolded should take full advantage of issues that are brought to the public’s attention through mainstream sources and bring nuance to the conversation.
We presented our findings at the EIT Future of Food Event 2021.