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Consumer understanding of upcycled foods – exploring consumer-created associations and concept explanations across five countries

Aschemann-Witzel, J., Asioli, D. ORCID:, Banovic, M., Perito, M. A. and Peschel, A. O. (2023) Consumer understanding of upcycled foods – exploring consumer-created associations and concept explanations across five countries. Food Quality and Preference, 112. 105033. ISSN 0950-3293

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2023.105033


To secure future protein demand in a sustainable food system, protein needs to come from a variety of alternative and novel sources, amongst others otherwise wasted side-streams. Such upcycled food is yet relatively unknown to consumers which makes it difficult for producers to decide on the best approach to communicating the product benefit to consumers. In a unique mixed-methods approach, we quantify qualitative data from a consumer survey of 2,405 respondents in five European countries to explore which type of associations emerge to the new concept and explore examples of how consumers with different associations would choose to explain it to a peer. We also test whether abstract or concrete presentation of the concept and different types of framing of the benefit (climate, frugal and taste) influences the associations and explore how this differs among socioeconomic consumer groups. Results show that consumers have mainly positive associations about the concept of upcycled food using words like innovation, recycling, avoid food waste, sustainability, while negative association include terms like sceptical, dislike, disgusting. Concrete (rather than abstract) presentation of upcycled foods leads consumers to provide fewer negative associations. Depending on the type of benefit framing, consumers have different associations towards upcycled foods: A climate framing of upcycled food leads to associations of innovation and environment and appears to steer associations away from ‘waste’. Moreover, socio-demographic characteristics affect consumers associations to upcycled foods; Overall, females and younger consumers are more positive. Findings provide insights into communication of upcycled food to different target groups.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:113860


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