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

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

New technology has brought with it new solutions for food provisioning. These innovative distribution platforms are often proposed as possible tools for the promotion of sustainable food consumption practices within households. However, we know little about the potential of these platforms and if they can be used to promote the sustainable consumption of food on a larger scale.

The overall objective of the PLATEFORMS project is therefore to produce in-depth and practically oriented knowledge on how sustainable household food consumption can be enabled through socio-technical innovations in food provisioning platforms and communicate success stories of sustainability to platform owners and policy makers.

Methodologically and theoretically, the project is positioned between individualistic and systemic approaches – whereas the first is focusing on changing individual consumer behavior, and the second is ignoring consumers in favor of other actors and more “macro” solutions. More specifically, this project takes a socio-technical practice approach, seeing consumption in all its phases of planning, provisioning, storing, cooking, eating, and disposing – driven by practices more than by individual choices.

We approach sustainability as a multifaceted term pertaining to environmental, economic, social, cultural, ethical, and health related dimensions. This project seeks to incorporate all dimensions with a particular focus on health, environment, equality, gender and culture. The project begins by taking existing knowledge in the field into account by providing a mapping on relevant literature as well as a catalogue of initiatives on various platforms in selected European cities. In the next step, the project assesses interventions, through a standardized method of field experiment that can be applied in a larger scale on platforms of food provisioning. These interventions will provide new insights on which factors engage the consumer in the transition to new consumers’ purchasing practices.

By suggesting concrete behavior changing strategies to processes of technological and social innovation, the project will provide solutions with high acceptability as part of the communication and dissemination plan. 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.

Project members are Christian Fuentes, project leader, University of Borås, Maria Fuentes and Emma Samsioe, Lund university.