Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

CONNECT4ACTION

Strategies for improving communication between social and consumer scientists, food technology developers and consumers (Consumers)

Project acronym: CONNECT4ACTION

Title of project: Strategies for improving communication between social and consumer scientists, food technology developers and consumers

Research area: Consumers

Contract No: 289023

EU contribution: €994 211

Start date: December 2011

Duration: 36 months

Status: ongoing

The CONNECT4ACTION project is investigating ways to improve communication between consumers, consumer scientists, food technology developers, and other key players. Its purpose is to improve the success rate of food technology developments and commercialisation in Europe. Failed innovations are not only a waste of investment, but also often a missed opportunity to contribute to solving challenges society is facing, such as health and environmental issues. In addition, innovation success is also important for the European food industry, helping it meet strong competition from emerging economies around the world. Given the fact that the success of innovation depends on consumers accepting novel products, it is important to know more about their needs and preferences.

The project partners start from the premise that timing and a shared language are important characteristics of dialogue when it comes to facilitating its successful outcome. To develop an optimal dialogue in the food technology development and commercialisation process, three important stages can be identified based on insights from market-oriented literature.

  1. Listening to consumers' wishes – effective market information not only includes the needs and preferences of consumers, but also analyses external factors, such as government regulation, technology, and environmental forces, which might influence them.
  2. Internal communications – communication between disciplines means the effective dissemination of available information. Adapting effectively to market needs requires communication and dissemination amongst virtually all key players involved in the technology development and commercialisation process.
  3. Responding to consumers – responsiveness is the action taken in answer to the information that has been generated, analysed and disseminated.

CONNECT4ACTION is developing a set of concrete tools that can be used by stakeholders with an interest in novel product development to ensure effective internal and external communication. The partners are developing materials to support communication strategies at all stages of the food technology development and commercialisation process; planning training and education activities directed at food professionals and young academics; and piloting support materials and training activities.

Connecting all key players in this dialogue will help to respond better to consumer wishes and reduce innovation failures. Dialogue between key players with different expertise will help improve the food technology development and commercialisation process. During the dialogue, concerns can be identified and analysed at an early stage and different solutions from different perspectives can be investigated.

Website of project: www.connect4action.eu

Coordinator: Karin Zimmermann,  karin.zimmermann@wur.nl

Organisation: Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek DLO, the Netherlands, www.wur.nl

Partners: