Logos for healthy food
Lifestyle related diseases - like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes type 2 - form a major societal challenge. This project investigates the effectiveness of logos in preventing these diseases.
Researchers collaborate with representatives of healthy food logos and food companies in order to (a) identify the motivations of food producing companies to innovate responsibly, (b) identify and evaluate socio-ethical and economic drivers and barriers to invest and participate in innovations for healthy food and (c) investigate how a front-of-pack health logo can contribute to responsible food innovation. Among others the researchers pay attention to perceived effectiveness and the ‘value absorptive capacity’ of food companies.
Healthy food logos - such as the Choices logo – are intended to help consumers to make healthier choices. People with lower incomes and a lower level of education appeared to be hardly willing to be guided by these logos. Indirectly, however, the logos can have an effect on the eating patterns of this difficult to reach group. That is because the logos work in two ways: they influence the consumer, but also the producer. Informative logos can encourage the food industry to innovate and so make the total food supply healthier.
This project will make it clearer for the participating companies and medical research charities which factors encourage responsible innovation in the food industry and which hinder this. It will help to further develop the logos and optimise the impact of innovation towards a healthier food supply. The interdisciplinary research team consists of specialists in business strategy and innovation management, philosophy and ethics, and food chemistry and technology.
Drivers and barriers
- A framework for responsible innovation for the business context that articulates ethical considerations about the direction of innovation, describes tensions for exercising responsibility, and gives practical guidelines for taking responsibility.
- Insight in the motives of food companies to engage (cooperatively) in responsible innovation for healthier food products.
Another part of the project studies the innovation cycle of specific food products in order to identify the motivations, drivers and barriers behind particular product improvements. The researchers distinguish the influence of criteria of healthy food logos on actual product innovations, as well as the dynamics behind actual product innovations due to influencing factors. This study will lead to insight in:
- The relationship between the perceived responsibility of a firm for the societal impact of its innovations and the outcomes of a product innovation in terms of health.
- The ‘value absorptive capacity’ of companies and the facilitators and barriers for the value absorption process, such as the product standards of a front-of-pack logo.
The new concept that we want to introduce in the innovation management literature is that of ‘value absorptive capacity’. It refers to the capacity of a company to incorporate societal values in innovation processes.
healthy eating, food logos, lifestyle choices, food industry, food industry, motivation, healthy food products, business strategy, obesity, diabetes, food companiesOfficial project title: