Knowledge Based Bio-Economy

FOCUS-BALKANS

Food consumer science in the Balkans: Frameworks, protocols and networks for a better knowledge of food behaviours (Consumers)

Project acronym: FOCUS-BALKANS

Title of project: Food consumer science in the Balkans: Frameworks, protocols and networks for a better knowledge of food behaviours

Research area: Consumers

Contract No: 212579

EU contribution: €2 614 110

Start date: October 2008

Duration: 36 months

Status: finalised

The general objective of the project was to improve competencies and understanding of food consumer science in the Balkan countries. This resulted in both a greater participation of scientists from the Western Balkan Countries (WBC) in projects related to food consumer science and in an increased number of publications related to food consumer issues in the WBC.

The spirit of the project FOCUS-BALKANS encompassing six WBC (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia) was to interlink research, training and networking activities regarding food consumer science. One of its objectives was to develop a network of universities, institutes, high schools, consumer organisations, NGOs and private enterprises active in food related consumer science. The aim was to increase knowledge and understanding of WBC food consumers, with a focus on foods and fruits products believed to have positive nutritional properties and to be more sustainable (organic and traditional food products).

Based on the collected qualitative and quantitative data on consumer attitudes and behaviour variations between food consumer groups and food markets have been identified. New methods and tools have been developed and adapted to the WBC.

Trainings and workshops to disseminate theoretical and methodological knowledge in the field of food consumer science have been conducted. It has resulted in effective relationships and exchanges between the WBC beneficiaries, methods and methodologies understanding and appropriation, specification of the scope of each research area, production of the different methodologies and good overview of how to organise a consumer survey.

For all the four studied markets (fruits, products with health’s claims, organic products and traditional food), there is a need of future research on food consumption, food and health policies, and markets’ trends. The recommendation is to develop the collection of reliable data on food consumption, so to increase the scientific-based knowledge in three main general directions:

  • Research about consumers: food intake, food behaviour, consumers’ beliefs,
    expectations, preferences, motives and attitudes.
  • Research about the communication and the information policies and tools
    (efficiency, targeting, content, up-taking, etc.).
  • Market research: structure, functioning, rules, organisations, standards, investments, etc.

Website of project: www.focus-balkans.org/

Memories of the last open seminar: http://www.youtube.com/user/focusbalkans/videos

Coordinator: Dominique Barjolle, barjolle@ethz.ch

Organisation: ETH Zürich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zürich, www.afee.ethz.ch

Partners: