Navigating the food and nutrition communications highway

Navigating the communications highway can easily lead you into a spaghetti junction. Perhaps never more so than in the area of food and nutrition communications. Central to successful navigation is weighing up the evidence, listening, and understanding the views of others before choosing the path to follow.

Key equipment for us is scientific rigour combined with common sense.

Last week our Food Group hosted a seminar on this topic.  The first half focused on collecting views and perspectives from many relevant sectors within the healthy eating debate, with presentations from Kate Porter (McDonalds NZ), Dr Robyn Toomath (Fight the Obesity Epidemic), Sarah Thomson (Child Cancer Foundation) and Katherine Rich (Food and Grocery Council).

It was interesting to hear such diverse views on approaches to healthy eating within one session.  But the panel discussion highlighted promising areas of commonality towards a shared goal.  It’s effective communications which can achieve a WIIFM factor within such a wide spectrum of approaches.

The second session focused on communicating what consumers think and want.  Our Food Group and Nutrition NZ analysed some recent large pieces of research looking at what consumers really think of food labelling – in particular food and nutrition information on food labels.  If you’d like a copy of my presentation I’d be happy to provide this.

Then Cathy Arrow led us on a virtual tour of her sister’s fish pie via online media, highlighting the influence of various online media influences in effective communications.

We ended up with a panel of “alpha mums” who were all asked questions by the attendees.  I think we could have carried on firing questions for at least another hour or two, as their insight was the true measure of all our communications efforts.

For those who attended, what (if anything) did you learn?  What would you have liked to see more of?  Please post any comments on the event (good and bad) to this blog.

Categories: Food and Nutrition Events, Food Trends, Nutrition and Health

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2 replies »

  1. I found all presentations very interesting and thought Kate Porter from McDonalds did a fantastic job . I am not surprised to hear that NZers are very value consious as we are finding that in our consumer research aswell. I think sometimes, us, as the food industry, nutritionists and dietitians forget the complexity of food labels as perceived by the consumer. We can read them, interpret them and can extract the information we are looking for but it is not so easy for others. Thanks :)

  2. Thanks to Network & the participating speakers for a great afternoon. The traffic light system for food was referred to several times – a system which I believe should still be subject to great scrutiny and discussion before employed in any shape or form here. The speakers highlighted the communication void which still exists between industry and government/scientists in many instances – a void all parties need to work to fill. No one is the villain or the winner – it must be a team approach if consumers are really to benefit in terms of the choices they make.