Education

One of twelve strategies developed in the Trust Study, with the goal of helping consumers eat more healthfully and sustainably.

The Trust Study

In collaboration with EIT Food, Future of Food Institute conducted a study to gain a deeper understanding about consumer attitudes towards the food chain, and particularly the role trust plays in that relationship.

One of the outcomes of this study is a set of twelve strategies, co-created together with European participants in the Citizen Participation Forum 2020. 

One of these strategies is Education.

What is Education?

We learned that knowledge of food, but also the love for food, often develops at a young age. Many adults have nostalgic memories about their parents or grandparents preparing food, or even growing food. Nowadays this connection is often lost, however, in which case parents cannot pass it onto their children.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could offer children the opportunity to connect with the food chain, to let them know where food comes from, and what good food is?

Food education is relevant to children as well as young adults. Everyone relies on some knowledge of nutrition. Or how food is produced. Educated children can influence their parents’ eating habits, and the other way around.

What does Education look like?

  • Educational programs that involve children in the production of food
  • Including all links in the food chain, leading to a full understanding of where food comes from

Knowledge is power. Educating of adults will empower them to make informed food choices. Education does not only come in organised structures, but also through the consumption of books, documentaries, podcasts, magazines, and newspapers.

What’s the catch?

For this strategy to work, the following points need to be taken into account:

Biased information

Whenever commercial parties get involved in providing information, there is a chance that the information they give is biased. It means there must be an impartial party that verifies the content.

Disordered eating

Particularly in middle schools, food education should be provided in a sensitive way that takes into account the propensity of students for disordered eating. Diet culture needs to stay out of a healthy and sustainable eating curriculum.

What did community members say about this?

“In Danish nursery schools they take kids to the market and buy food with them, teaching them about food. Later in the day they use this food to prepare a meal, and kids are more inclined to eating it because they were there when it was bought. This works well, but it should be continued in elementary and high school.”
Anonymous participant

“Food and taste education is fundamental in the early childhood period as well as a correct and healthy choice for growth. But it is obvious that tastes and experiences also change with the adult stage and even some knowledge is no longer what it was decades ago.”
Chiara, 42, Italy

“If I were a farmer, I would organize a workshop for primary school children from nearby towns, so that they could see with their own eyes what our work looks like, how the fields change from month to month, what grows in them and how much effort it takes.” Wioletta, 33, Poland

Best practices: who is already doing this?

Smaaklessen (taste lessons) (NL)

Smaaklessen is an organisation developed by Wageningen University & Research. In collaboration with government, education, business ans social organisations, Smaaklessen develops objective education about food and nutrition for children. Smaaklessen educates children by giving them knowledge and experience with food. With this, children are more likely to make healthy and sustainable food choices and know how to prepare healthy meals in the future.

Nutrition Facts organisation (US)

NutritionFacts is a science-based nonprofit organisation which offers updates on the latest healthful eating and nutrition research. This website is an exhaustive source of nutritional information extracted from peer reviewed journals, communicated in a straightforward way.

Our mission is to help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system, by including the consumer as equally relevant stakeholder.

We offer accessible and clear consumer insights that help all actors in the food chain to effectively support & seduce the consumer to make the sustainable food choice.

Laan van Meerdervoort 36 - 2517AL - Den Haag - The Netherlands - Info@futureoffood.institute