A study about the influence of food media on food consumption patterns in Flanders
Celebrities, self-claimed experts and laypeople are trusted by their followers. The diets they promote are not based on science but are often very popular, creating hypes in consumer behaviour in Flanders. Science and experts try to respond strongly but they often end up pushing the followers closer towards their influencer. The average consumer is more likely to trust the influencer than the food industry or health organisation. Furthermore, there is an enormous overload of information available that causes confusion in the search for correct information and which can lead to further polarisation. This makes it difficult to communicate with any impact when launching a new innovative product or to get science-based information to be taken seriously.
InFlOOD is a collective, fundamental research project (type SBO) with the objective of building more knowledge about the effect of communication about food via (social) media en influencers. Specifically, the research consists of the following parts:
Experimental research based on cases in which we apply innovative communication strategies
Researching the influence of food media on the Flemish food consumption pattern and learning more about influencers' successful and influential communication strategies makes it possible to test the best strategies in both laboratory and field experiments. This will lead to practical guidelines and tips that will help both food companies and health organisations communicate with consumers more effectively and/or with more impact. Two platforms will also be created. On the one hand, Flanders’ FOOD will create a platform that brings the food industry into closer contact with various media channels which will make matchmaking and advice services from communication experts and bureaus easier. On the other hand, InFlOOD will also lead to a completely independent knowledge platform about food and communication that will provide the consumer with correct, science-based information about a healthy diet.
Flanders’ FOOD manages and coordinates the research project. This will also form a bridge between the research group and the supervisory committee with industrial food companies, communication bureaus, health organisations and federations.