Investigating policy options to support behaviour change

The client and/or collaborators

University of Canberra, Australian National University, Deakin University

The context

There is increasing recognition of the importance of multilevel policies and actions that address healthy and environmentally friendly food behaviours. However it is not yet clear which actions are most suitable to support consumers to adopt both behaviours concurrently.

The question

What are consumer perceptions, experiences and attitudes towards healthy and environmental food aspects and behaviours: reducing overconsumption; reducing consumption of discretionary foods; eating less animal- and more plant-derived foods; and reducing food waste.

What are the effects of different point-of-purchase actions (price, logos and labels) on consumer choices between a standard and healthy and sustainable food alternative?

The approach

In-depth interviews using a web-based visual platform with audio, video, and chat box were held with 29 Australian food shoppers. We ensured that low involvement participants were included in our sample.

Online discrete choice experiments performed by a representative nationwide sample of Australian household grocery buyers (N=944).

The outcome

Overall, consumers found a joined concept of healthy and environmentally friendly foods an acceptable idea. Health is clearly a stronger personal driver, therefore we recommend that this should remain the overarching principle for policies and actions for consumer behaviour change.

The choice experiments showed that point-of-purchase actions may partially contribute to advance uptake of healthy and sustainable food alternatives. Price changes, particularly a decreased price (subsidy) for the healthy and sustainable alternatives, had a bigger effect on shifting choices than a logo and/or label.

The results were presented and discussed at a national forum with stakeholders from government, NGO’s and food industry.