The Power of the Influencer: Food Ambassadors inspire sustainable and healthier food choices

24 July 2019 News EIT Food Projects Davide Carrino, Senior Manager of Media and Communications at Eufic, explains how the flagship Food Ambassadors Programme aims to work with influencers to drive changes in consumer food consumption behaviour.

The Power of the Influencer: Food Ambassadors inspire sustainable and healthier food choices

Explaining the Food Ambassadors Programme from EIT Food

The Food Ambassadors Programme is partnering with influencers to raise awareness of sustainable products and technologies to motivate the public to adopt healthier and more sustainable eating habits. These EIT Food ambassadors are the influencers, trendsetters and chefs who are trusted by the consumer and who can deliver the science-based messages needed to deliver a real cultural shift in behaviour.

When asked why this project was needed, Davide explained, “It is hard to raise awareness of food system challenges such as sustainability and obesity because we face an information overload on food and health issues. Influencers, however, are role models who the public will listen to and engage with their content.” As such, these influencers can increase the acceptance of new tools and technologies through their dialogue with consumers. For example, a consumer is much more likely to actively use a food waste app when an influencer informs and inspires them of why they should do so.

The Eating the Gap event building an invaluable influencer community

The Food Ambassadors Programme holds an exciting series of events known as ‘Eating the Gap’, which showcase how improving the food chain starts with daily choices, using science-based messages to decrease the gap between consumers’ current understanding of the food system and where we want their understanding to be. According to Davide, the goal of Eating the Gap is to communicate the importance of “working together to make change happen”. The event brings together influencers and chefs in a series of co-creation tasks such as cooking contests where they share knowledge of how our diets can be made healthier and more sustainable. By creating an immersive and memorable experience, this powerful influencer community are encouraged to share their learnings from the event with their own audiences.

The first Eating the Gap event bought together over 80 influencers with a potential reach of 2 million people demonstrating how important this community is to help educate and inspire the public on food-related issues. However, it is not only the size of the influencer community following that is considered when selecting the right candidates for the Food Ambassadors Programme; as the Ambassadors must post relevant content that aligns with EIT Food’s objectives. So, while each influencer may have a different niche, such as food, nutrition or sustainability, they are carefully selected based on their ability to effectively communicate scientific messages to EIT Food’s target consumers.

Eating the Gap aligns with EIT Food’s sustainability objective

The second Eating the Gap event on 24 June 2019 helped support EIT Food’s sustainability objective. This was through:

  • Discussing the importance of sustainable diets in securing the future of food. This included an inspirational talk from Dr. Line Gordon, a director of the EAT Foundation, who explained the need for a 50% reduction in global consumption of unhealthy foods
  • Having dishes prepared using surplus food, with chefs and influencers explaining their passion for cooking with food waste
  • A commitment by the influencers present to informing consumers of why they should adopt healthier and more sustainable diets through conversations on their social media channels.

The next steps in creating a cultural shift in behaviour

Having just completed the second successful Eating the Gap event, Davide explained how the influencers would be taking part in a ‘social media challenge’ to share their learnings from the event with their followers. He also highlighted the importance of the content types used to communicate with the consumer: “Consumers want influencers to talk with them not at them, and use co-creation content such as, users posting videos of how they are actively changing the food system.” Here, consumers want to share how they are responding to new learnings and also educate influencers with their own knowledge of food challenges and solution as well.  In turn, influencers must post content that engages with people, encourages them to digest science-based messages and inspires them to change how they consume food. It is this form of consumer-led engagement that will help deliver the project’s long-term goal of creating a real behavioural shift to sustainable eating habits.

The next step of this Programme is growing the Food Ambassadors community by partnering with more influencers who share EIT Food’s mission to ‘Improve Food Together’.  If you are an influencer who shares EIT Food’s mission and want to get in touch, join the #EatingTheGap conversation and drop a line to the project coordinator to learn about the next events!

About the author: Laura Elphick is a Communications and Events Assistant at EIT Food. She holds a First-Class Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing and is passionate about promoting a sustainable food environment to consumers.

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