Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


Food Risk Communication. Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies (Consumers)

Project acronym: FoodRisC

Title of project: Food Risk Communication. Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies

Research area: Consumers

Contract No: 245124

EU contribution: €2 973 855

Start date: June 2010

Duration: 41 months

Status: on-going

Balanced food-risk communication remains a challenge across the European Union, with on-going public concern about food supply contaminants, technological advances and food-borne diseases. The FoodRisC project looks at food risk-benefit relationships and their implications for risk communicators, with particular reference to the growing importance of new media in risk communications.

Better communication of food risk-benefit information will assist initiatives for reducing the burden of food-related illness and disease, thereby reducing the economic impact of food crises and ensuring that confidence in safe and nutritious food is fostered and maintained in Europe.

FoodRisC is also making recommendations on the unique potential of new social media (e.g. social networks and blogs) and providing a systematic understanding of how consumers deal with food risk-benefit information.

The FoodRisC consortium includes experts in key fields that are relevant to food risk-benefit communication; they come from research institutes, consumer organisations and SMEs in 10 member states. The consortium is supported by an Advisory Board of representatives from seven organisations world renowned in food risk-benefit communication, including the European Food Safety Agency, the World Health Organisation and Google.

The project is identifying the barriers that communicating to consumers face across Europe. In addition, the partners are investigating the key socio-psychological and socio-demographic characteristics – including gender – that affect food risk-benefit perceptions and processes, as well as consumer preferences for communication channels. They are also exploring the potential of new social media (e.g. blogs and social networks) for communicating food risks and benefits, and providing guidance on how risk communicators can best use these media. Further objectives include characterising the ways in which consumers obtain, interpret, and use information – in order to help target populations and tailor messages.

FoodRisC will propose a strategy and provide the necessary tools to effectively communicate coherent messages across EU countries, which could also support the implementation of EU policy initiatives. Use of the toolkit and guides will help policy makers, food authorities and others in developing common approaches.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Prof. Patrick Wall,

Organisation: UCD – University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Ireland,