With society facing major problems in terms of obesity, food waste and the environment, the need for next generation consumers to make improved food choices has never been more important. Unfortunately, we are also facing decreasing levels of engagement and knowledge about our food, particularly among our youth. It is difficult to encourage the next generation to make improved food choices if their engagement and comprehension of food is poor.
#WeValueFood will engage with students from primary, secondary and tertiary education all over Europe, as well as parents, educators, and representatives from the European agri-food industry.
WeValueFood will tackle the erosion of society’s engagement with our food by:
- Providing a pan-European online inventory of existing educational resources to help teachers engage students on the topic of food
- Creating new tools and strategies for educating students from a primary, secondary and tertiary level about food
- Modifying and scaling up food engagement tools particularly in regions where levels of food disengagement are high and young people lack knowledge about food
- Helping the food industry learn how to engage with next generation consumers in a positive and healthy way
- Inspiring a community of European Food Champions, a network of food-savvy young consumers who will share their food values via peer-to-peer communication
- Work together with high-profile Food Stars (e.g. chefs and social media influencers) to spread the WeValueFood message
WeValueFood will focus on five areas of food knowledge:
- The origin of food (where does food come from?)
- Food production (how is food made?)
- Food and health (how do we eat healthily?)
- Food waste (how to reduce our own food waste?)
- Food and the environment (how does what we eat affect our world?
By engaging the next generation of European consumers, WeValueFood will help to establish a society that is more knowledgeable and discerning about where food comes from and how it affects our health and the planet.
Through closer links between consumers and the food industry, next generation consumer food choices and values will lead to product differentiation and added value, ensuring a thriving European agri-food economy.
Highlights from 2019
1st WeValueFood Conference
Video: WeValueFood annual conference was held in Warsaw on 3-4 December 2019.
The 2019 conference brought together a range of international speakers from research, education and industry sectors. Early stage researchers presented the latest project results and exchanged ideas around the main question: “How to engage the next generation consumers on food values?” The following key themes were explored:
- The latest research on food engagement
- Successful tools and strategies from around the world
- The role of social media
- Practical demonstrations
- How industry can learn to communicate with next generation consumers
Decision Support Tool for Educators
We have created a decision support tool that can be used by educators across primary, secondary and tertiary education levels, to help them retrieve and utilise various food education tools and strategies, based on defined criteria selected by educators. These tools and strategies focus on various food topics.
In 2019, we gathered over 350 tools from countries across Europe (UK, Italy, Israel, Iceland, Finland, Spain and Poland), and tested the support tool with educators in the UK and Poland. Currently, the decision model includes tools from Italy, UK, Poland and Israel and in 2020 we will be adding the remaining tools from Spain, Finland and Iceland. The decision support tool will soon be openly available for educators soon.
WeValueFood is a 3-year grand challenge project funded by EIT involving 11 European partners from education, academia and industry, communication sectors. The project runs from 2019-2021 and is led by Queen’s University Belfast.