Trust Boost: EIT Food’s Consumer Observatory


Begoña Villareal

Director EIT Food South

The Consumer Observatory is a collaborative effort involving key players across the agrifood spectrum, including Aarhus University, AZTI, EIT Food, Future of Food Institute, Greenhouse Communications, House of Insights, The REAL Leadership Consultancy, Thinktank International Research, Your Allies, University of Reading and Wageningen Economic Research. Together, this dynamic coalition aims to generate resources that capture the latest and most pertinent consumer insights. 

The central hub employs a multifaceted approach to obtain the most relevant and reliable information. Utilising tools such as the Food Experts Advisory Boards, the TrustTracker study, and the Citizen Participation Forum, the hub ensures a comprehensive understanding of consumer perspectives. Besides, the Consumer Observatory serves as a repository for external research and studies, enriching the depth and breadth of available information...  

Now, let's delve into the pivotal tools and initiatives that set this groundbreaking initiative apart: 

Food Expert Advisory Board (FEAB), where ideas are shared, and innovation is encouraged. 

The FEAB (Food Experts Advisory Board) unites European experts from the agrifood system to bring new ideas to the table, such as food industry challenges and consumption trends. They also provide support and guidance throughout the whole process of development and assessment of the Consumer Observatory. Their expertise ensures a holistic and well-informed approach to addressing the complex issues within the food industry. 

TrustTracker and how to measure consumers’ trust 

In order to move towards a healthier and more sustainable agrifood system, it is essential to dig into consumer’s opinions and views on the current situation. Thus, in 2018 EIT Food created the TrustTracker study, an annual evidenced-based survey to measure consumers’ trust in the European food system. Developed by EIT Food in collaboration with leading institutions such as University of Reading, the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), Aarhus University, KU Leuven, and the University of Warsaw, TrustTracker assess European consumers' trust in the food system, their confidence in the integrity of food products, and their motivations and intentions towards eating a healthier diet. The ongoing data collection and analysis since 2018 provide a comprehensive understanding of evolving consumer sentiments and trust levels towards the food system. 

Opening a space for consumers: Citizen Participation Forum 

A cornerstone of the Consumer Observatory, the Citizen Participation Forum is a platform where European consumers freely communicate their needs, wants, perceptions, concerns and intentions around food products and the food system. With approximately 300 participants from 13 European countries, this online forum serves as a rich source of diverse perspectives. On a regular basis, members of the Citizen Participation Forum are encouraged to partake in diverse activities, such as open discussion, questionnaires, focus groups, polls, and photo assignments. With the data collected from the activities, the Consumer Observatory gain a deeper understanding of the consumers' needs, fears, and their level of willingness to buy new products.  

This cocktail of resources and tools will enable the agrifood system to improve and become a more trusted and innovative industry, where consumers feel confident in adopting a healthier lifestyle. As consumers become more confident in adopting healthier lifestyles, the agrifood system is poised to undergo a positive transformation. Take a look at our website to learn more about the Consumer Observatory and stay tuned for new insights!  

Consumer Observatory Youtube Link:  

TrustTracker Scientific Model: