Consumers' food behaviour under spotlight at major international conference

05 June, 2012. The factors that influence people’s behaviour towards food will be the subject of a major two-day international conference being held in Cork this week. The Food Health Choice and Change conference will explore the influences and effects of food-related behaviours on health and discuss approaches to supporting positive behavioural changes in society. 
The conference, which is being hosted by safefood, the body responsible for promoting healthy eating and food safety together with the HRB Centre for Health & Diet Research and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will feature leading speakers from public health, food policy and social programmes on the island of Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Keynote speaker Professor Jeff French, CEO of Strategic Social Marketing commented

With recent developments in the areas of social psychology and behavioural economics, there are implications for governments and public organisations in how they go about designing, implementing and evaluating social programmes aimed at changing behaviour. The emergence of new behaviour theories describe four basic types of intervention – Hugs, Nudges, Shoves and Smacks – each of which can be used to influence behaviour. Governments and public organisations need to use the growing evidence and experience of how to influence people and incorporate this new understanding into the policies they develop and implement.”

Dr Aileen McGloin, Scientific Support Manager, safefood said "Understanding people’s behaviour towards food and the many influences on this are key to informing public policy and effecting long-term positive change in society. In the example of our overweight and obesity crisis, we know from research that early influences can put a person on a path than can affect how they eat and prepare food over their lifetime. If we know why we do things, we can begin to change how we do things. These insights can also help with developing future interventions, policies and programmes to tackle this issue and create long-term changes in behaviour.”

Other speakers at the conference include:
  • Martin Caraher, Professor of Food & Health Policy, City University London
  • Steen Stender, Consultant Physician, Gentofte University Hospital, Denmark
  • Fionuala McAuliffe, Associate Professor & Consultant, University College Dublin and National Maternity Hospital.
  • Barbara Stewart-Knox, Senior Lecturer, University of Ulster
  • Mary McCarthy, Senior Lecturer, University College Cork
  • Linda Weinberg, Senior Vice President, Social Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
The Food, Health, Choice & Change Conference will be held at the Western Gateway Building, University College Cork on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 June 2012.
For more details including speakers, timetables and topics, visit

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For further information please contact:

Orla Dormer/Serena Leyden, WHPR
Tel: 01 6690030
Dermot Moriarty, safefood
Tel: 01 448 0600; Mob: 086 381 1034