Understanding the adoption of sustainable innovation
EIT Food is Europe’s leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted. The initiative is made up of a consortium of key industry players, start-ups, research centres and universities from across Europe. The aim of this study was to understand what influences consumers to eat more healthily, more sustainably, and to be more open towards food innovation.
For this study we created a European online community, with participants from 18 different European countries (total of 232 participants). Within this community participants completed various tasks, including questionnaires and polls, and participated in online discussions.
Among other things they were asked to reflect on their awareness of technological innovation within food and discuss innovations that they like and do not like. They were also split into subgroups which focussed on a specific innovation (e.g. aquaponics) and discussed strengths and weaknesses, potential for success, relevance for which kind of consumer.
Consumers believe there is a need for more sustainable foods. However, there is also weariness towards innovations that are seen as too industrial and unnatural. Particularly technological food innovations are associated with yuppy, big-city culture and are not perceived as relevant to everyone. What also became clear is that the weariness is towards innovation in the food itself, but much less so towards methods of production.