We are in need of a sustainable food system that benefits the environment, the society, and the economy. But how do we do that? The Consumers’ Understanding of Eating Sustainably (CUES) project is awarded with 6.5 million euros from the Horizon Europe programme by the European Commission to answer that question. The CUES consortium consists of 21 partners from 12 European countries and will be coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam.
In a time period of four years, CUES sets out to foster significant changes concerning culture, food value chain, and policy in the food system. The project will achieve these changes through co-designing scientific methods and approaches to transmit and present sustainability-related information to consumers to guide their knowledge on, for example sustainable labelling and the societal impact of different kinds of food production, transportation, and consumption. But also, to guide their behavior and to determine the persuasive keys to promote sustainable consumer behavior most efficiently.
Interventions to (re)gain consumer trust
In line with the European Green Deal Priorities and the Farm to Fork Strategy, CUES will develop nine interventions to create and test technological, organisational, and social innovations in the agri-food value chain: from producing, processing, and packaging of plant-based and circular projects to short supply chains. Validated persuasive keys such as digital traceability of products and transparency of business operations regarding sustainability-related information, will be developed into a Communication Toolkit to enable different value chain actors to re(gain) consumer trust. Then, CUES will amplify the impact of these interventions by fostering experience sharing and building a strong Learning Community that will connect organisations, policy makers, business, and citizens, and allow them to use the project’s outputs and learnings in different local food environments.
Dr. Yijing Wang, project coordinator
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to develop behavioural solutions for sustainable food consumption. Sustainable food consumption tends to depend on socio-demographic factors, cultural identity, and various other factors such as food environments, available food options and, food preferences. CUES aims to create adaptable and replicable interventions in different food environments by involving communities across age ranges and to enhance the desirability and acceptability of sustainable food options.”
The CUES consortium consists of 21 partners from 12 different countries, including Heidelberg University, KU Leuven University, Wageningen University, ICLEI Europe, European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food, and Fair Trade Advocacy Office. CUES will be coordinated by dr. Yijing Wang, together with dr. Anne-Marie van Prooijen and dr. Freya de Keyser, all working at the department of Media & Communication at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.
About Horizon Europe
Horizon Europe, the EU's flagship research and innovation funding program from 2021 to 2027, aims to enhance Europe's competitiveness through scientific advancements and innovation. It fosters collaboration, addresses global challenges, and promotes the dissemination of knowledge and technologies.