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RIS Consumer Engagement Labs

A realm where consumers and food innovators seamlessly participate in shaping the future of food.

2019
2023

Call for Application Up to 12 Feb, 2024

EIT Food is looking for 6 local consortia, each of which consists of a scientific organisation and food producer operating in the same country. Consumer Engagement Labs include co-creation workshops and the development of new products based on ideas co-created with consumers.

Deadline for application: 12 February 2024, 11:00 AM CET.

Webinar: How to Apply for Consumer Engagement Labs 2024!

To assist you with the application process, we organised an informative webinar on January 12, 2024.

The webinar provides information on Consumer Engagement Labs, including how to join, who can participate, geographical scope, evaluation criteria, and more.

Overview of Consumer Engagement Labs

The EIT Food RIS Consumer Engagement Labs is one of the largest food co-creation initiatives in Europe. In 2019-2023, the co-creation processes involved 106 consumer panels, 25 scientific organizations and 55 companies from 19 European countries, who worked together to design, develop and introduce to the market 30 innovative food products.

The Consumer Engagement Labs are co-creation processes involving consumers and producers, based on an innovative methodology developed by the University of Warsaw.

Why Co-creation

Consumer Engagement Labs prioritise collective creation of innovative, yet non-existing combinations of product features and benefits over traditional methods of leveraging consumer engagement like surveys, focus groups, and sensory tests.

Benefits

Through co-creation consumers become valuable partners for companies in new product development. Co-creation methods raise awareness of specific needs of consumer segments, establish trust-based dialogue, and promote innovativeness.

CEL Impact

  • 30 products designed using the Consumer Engagement Labs methodology are statements of its success.
  • Consumers in the driving seat ensure that the food industry delivers value, innovation and convenience. Food companies benefit from new products, proposed by consumers.
  • Consumer Engagement Labs prioritise consumer groups that are often overlooked by the companies. The methodology was initially designed for older consumers but has since been adapted to respond to various groups, such as the young generation, consumers with dietary restrictions or followers of plant-based diets.
  • Thanks to its adaptability, the methodology has also been applied across diverse product categories - sweets, savoury snacks, readymade meals, drinks and even environmentally friendly packaging for takeaway meals.

Co-Creation of Food Products

The creative proposals formulated by consumers participating in the Consumer Engagement Labs underwent rigorous in-house development to assess their production potential and feasibility. This process culminated in the successful market introduction of 30 products across 19 European countries (2019-2023), showcasing the creative potential of consumers as active participants in the food sector.

Methodology

The Consumer Engagement Labs methodology combines individual and team efforts, utilising projective and creative techniques, gamification, and design thinking. Co-creation sessions, held face-to-face or online over several weeks, allow participants to discuss preferences, explore markets, and foster creativity. Consumers collaborate with company representatives to propose innovative products, which are then evaluated and integrated into further development. The methodology offers tools for recruitment, session facilitation, and product commercialisation guidelines.

  • We gained valuable insights into the needs and preferences of the target groups we are interested in and some good ideas for new products. We would like to reach a larger number of senior citizens by developing products that cater to their specific needs and identifying appropriate and financially viable distribution channels.

    - Catherine Zanev, Venets.T, food producer, Bulgaria
  • I learned to think differently about products. I’m not talking about recipes or specific dishes, but with one carrot or one beet, you can do so many things, not always the same ones. Many things can be used and processed in a variety of ways. It gave me a broader view of food in general, of nutrition.

    - A female participant, aged 69, representing consumers from Poland.
  • The biggest benefit for us that resulted from participating in this project was that we get in touch with a group of consumers who want to get involved in the product innovation process in the future, and certainly, we want this because engaging with our consumers is part of the company’s activity.

    - Lucian Cuibus, Agronomia Agro Food Innovation SRL, Romania

Project lead

Photo Klincewicz EIT Food
Krzysztof Klincewicz

Activity Lead at EIT Food RIS Consumer Engagement Labs and EIT Food RIS Public Sector Representatives

Mag Z
Magdalena Zatorska

Research Fellow at EIT Food RIS Consumer Engagement Labs