Sustainable Food Platforms: Enabling sustainable food practices through socio-technical innovation

 

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Introduction / Background

Estimates show that the global food system contributes to about 20-30% of the total global GHG emissions. Food consumption is at the heart of the food regime, as consumer choices significantly influence the use of resources and environmental effects of production, distribution, and consumption. The choices consumers make in terms of their food consumption is connected to the ways in which their food is provided to them. With the technical advances of the last decade as well as the increase in consumer driven food supply, new platforms of food provisioning have emerged that may represent significant opportunities to enable and upscale sustainable food consumption.

As of now, little is known about the potential of these platforms to promote sustainable food consumption on a larger scale. Consumers may now purchase their food from online food retailers, box schemes, farmers markets or indeed, from other consumers. Each food provisioning system or platform presents consumers with unique choices. This new range of food provision has emerged from both e-commerce development and consumer-driven food provisioning. However, very little is known about the impact of these new platforms on food choices and whether they represent new opportunities to promote sustainable food practices in the home.

 

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Aim

PLATEFORMS aims to produce in-depth knowledge on how food practices in the home are affected by new innovations in food provisioning platforms. These innovations may be social (e.g. urban gardening, buying clubs, food cooperatives) or technical (e.g. online supermarket/niche store, box schemes, sharing apps). This project takes a socio-technical practice approach, viewing consumption in all its phases of planning, provisioning, storing, cooking, eating, and disposing. The focus is on these practices as performed in the home rather than on individual choices. The project will include both business-driven platforms (e.g. supermarkets/ online stores) and consumer-driven platforms (e.g. food cooperatives) in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy and Ireland.
The main aims of the project are to:

  • Produce a catalogue of contemporary European sustainability initiatives related to modes of food provisioning
  • Explore how socio-technical innovations in food provisioning platforms can drive/facilitate sustainable food consumption in households
  • Suggest strategies to implement and emphasize drivers of sustainability in this context
  • Examine the possibility of scaling up these sustainable food consumption platforms

Expected results

The project will promote sustainable food choices through involvement with platform owners, dissemination of academic results and communication of sustainable success stories across countries and platforms. The communication will target platforms owners, policy makers, and NGOs. By producing new in-depth knowledge about concrete strategies to enable sustainable food consumption through food provisioning platforms, the project will affect consumer practices and choices on a larger scale. Moreover, through intervention studies and collaboration with platform owners, it will be possible to quantify the effect of interventions.

Key words

Sustainable food consumption, household food practices, provisioning platforms, socio-technical innovation

 

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Project consortium

Coordinated by

Dr. Arne Dulsrud - Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences NORWAY

Partners

  • IRELAND: University College Cork     
  • SWEDEN: University of Gothenburg  
  • ITALY: University of Trento
  • GERMANY: Humbold-Universität zu Berlin

Runtime project

ThePLATEFORMS project started on 01/05/2018 and runs until 30/10/2021. 

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