Food in Turbulent Times (FiTT)
Lotte Holm, Annemette Nielsen
Other participants from IFRO:
Rising food prices and the current economic crisis are core issues on today’s consumer and policy agenda both in Denmark and internationally. How well equipped are we to maintain our private and common welfare in times of economic unrest and climatic change? How well prepared is the population to meet the challenges? In developing future policies and market strategies in the global and national food area it will be paramount not to separate but combine concerns related to the economy, food security, health, environmental sustainability and welfare. Knowledge of existing reactions, among consumers and key actors in the food sector, to fluctuations and trends in food provision will thus prove indispensable.
FiTT intends to: 1) Investigate existing coping strategies in relation to food budget constraints in different socioeconomic groups and household types; 2) Develop and apply a quantitative tool to measure and monitor the way changes in private economy affect food consumption patterns and the consequences of these changes measured against parameters of health sustainability and life quality.
The project consists of three substudies which are mutually dependent. The work incorporates and draws upon different scientific disciplines and methods. In substudy one a qualitative investigation will be carried out of coping strategies in relation to experienced food budget reductions and fluctuating market prices across different population groups. In substudy two micro analyses of consumer coping strategies are conducted. The analysis will be based on data from GfK (Consumer Tracking Scandinavia), which consists of an unbalanced panel of approximately 2600 food consumers who, on a daily basis, have registered their purchases of food products over the period 1999–2010. The fine-grained quality of the data (close to barcode level) allows us to translate the households’ coping strategies into changes in health and sustainability parameters. Based on the findings from substudy one and two, substudy three involves the design, development and application of a tool in the form of a structured questionnaire to measure and monitor at household level: a) the existence and extent of food budget constraints; b) coping strategies adopted in response to such restraints; and c) the effect of the coping strategies on healthy eating, sustainability in diet and life quality.
It is a further aim of the project to provide a strong basis for future Danish participation in EU projects responding to grand societal challenges connected with climate change, population health, and welfare policy. This project will help Danish researchers to develop important concepts and tools needed for welfare societies to gain valuable experience with research in this area, and also to develop and consolidate an international network of prominent researchers in this field.
The project also involves corporation with scientists from DTU (Technical University of Denmark) Food and Copenhagen Resource Institute.
Hvordan sikres sundhed, miljø og velfærd i fremtidens madforbrug? Mange danskere oplever i disse år at den nationale og globale økonomiske situation påvirker deres privatøkonomi negativt. Uanset indkomstniveau er det ofte madbudgettet der skæres i, fordi det er mere fleksibelt end for eksempel udgifter til husleje og energi. Et presset madbudget kan have negative konsekvenser for sundheden og måske for klimaet. FiTT projektet undersøger, hvordan miljøhensyn, sundhed og generel velfærd i forhold til madforbrug kan understøttes nu og fremover i en tid med økonomisk turbulens og udfordringer fra klima og miljø.
FiTT vil på baggrund af teoretiske og empiriske undersøgelser udvikle et survey instrument for at følge, hvordan befolkningen håndterer pres på madbudgettet og hvordan det påvirker menneskers livskvalitet samt madens sundhed og klimavenlighed.
Udfordringerne i madbugettet stiller krav til både forbrugere, offentlige myndigheder og markedet om at forholde sig på nye måder til udbuddet af fødevarer, til fødevarepriser og til kulturelt og socialt acceptable måder at spise på. Det udviklede survey instrument vil i fremtiden kunne tjene som et vigtigt redskab til at måle effekten af de indsatser som offentlige og private aktører sætter i værk for at fremme sunde og klimavenlige spisevaner i en tid med økonomisk turbulens og udfordringer fra klima og miljø.
I projektet deltager også forskere fra Danmarks Tekniske Universitet og Copenhagen Resource Institute.
June 1st 2012 - November 30th 2016
Source of financing:
The Danish Council for Strategic Research Programme Commission on Health, Food and Welfare (Det Strategiske Forskningsråd: Programkomiteen for Sundhed, Fødevarer og Velfærd)
DKK 6.3 mill.
Publications from the project
Holm L, Nielsen AL, Lund TB (2018): Adapting to financial pressure on household food budgets in Denmark: Associations with life satisfaction and dietary health. Acta Sociologica, DOI: 10.1177/0001699318810095
Smed S, Tetens I, Lund, TB & Holm L. (2018): The consequences of unemployment on diet composition and purchase behaviour: a longitudinal study from Denmark. Public Health Nutrition 21 (3): 580-592. DOI: 10.1017/S136898001700266X
Lund TB, Holm L, Tetens I, Smed S & Nielsen A (2017): Food insecurity in Denmark: socio-demographic determinants and associations with eating- and health-related variables. European Journal of Public Health 28 (2): 283–288. DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx121
Nielsen AL, Holm L & Lund TB (2017). Development of a survey tool to assess and monitor the influence of food budget restraint on healthy eating, food related climate impact and quality of life. IFRO Documentation 2017/2. Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen.
Lund TB, Watson D, Smed S, Hom L, Eisler T & Nielsen A (2016):The Diet-related GHG Index: construction and validation of a brief questionnaire-based index. Climate Change 140 (3-4): 503–517. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1869-9
Nielsen A & Holm L (2016): Making the most of less: food budget restraint in a Scandinavian welfare society. Food, Culture & Society 19 (1): 71-91. DOI: 10.1080/15528014.2016.1145003
Nielsen A, Lund TB & Holm L (2015): The taste of ‘the end of the month’, and how to avoid it: coping with restrained food budgets in a Scandinavian welfare state context. Social Policy and Society 14 (3): 429-442. DOI: 10.1017/S1474746415000056
International Advisory Group
- John Barrett, Professor of Sustainability Research, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK.
- Elizabeth Dowler, Professor of Sociology, University of Warwick, UK.
- Arne Dulsrud, Head of Research, SIFO, Norway.
- Spencer Henson, Professor of Food Economics, University of Sussex, UK and University of Guelph, Canada.
- Christine Olson, Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Cornell University, USA.
- Sabine Pfeiffer, Professor at the Department for Social Science Research in Munich, Germany.
- Dale Southerton, Professor of Sociology, the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, UK.
- Inge Tetens, Professor, DTU Food, Denmark.
- David Watson, Senior Consultant, Plan Miljø, Denmark.
National Dialogue Group
EU food consumption research
• Food insecurity is a re-emerging issue in Europe and should be addressed as a substantive topic in the Horizon 2020 programme.
• Fresh perspectives that focus on food consumption are essential if progressive solutions to food-related grand challenges are to be found. Social sciences offer lenses for examining the inter-related food issues in an integrated way.
• Horizon 2020 should call for research which seeks integrated solutions to address several societal challenges simultaneously.
These were in brief the main conclusions from a recent workshop initiated by IFRO researchers in Brussels. See all the recommendations in the workshop report >> where the role of social sciences in meeting challenges in food consumption in Europe is emphasized.