The product, the consumer, and the behavioural scientist – Presented by Remco Havermans, Maastricht University

The product, the consumer, and the behavioural scientist – Presented by Remco Havermans, Maastricht University, at the Healthy Nutrition Conference, 27 June 2018, Brightlands Campus, Venlo, The Netherlands.

Eating good food is important in maintaining good health. It is a simple behavioural rule that, however, few people seem to adhere to. Many people regularly enjoy eating junk food. Junk food is energy dense but notably low in nutritional value and hence relatively unhealthy. The appeal of junk foods is nonetheless enormous. The consumer in general tends to prefer junk food over healthy nutrition. Why is that? Clearly, food likes and dislikes are acquired through direct and indirect learning processes and dictate consumer preferences. Steering the consumer away from junk food and towards healthier alternatives requires knowledge of these processes. It requires knowledge of why the consumer consumes what s/he consumes. That knowledge is the domain of the psychologist, a behavioural scientist. In short, effectively promoting the consumption of healthy food products stands to benefit immensely from behavioural science.

What drives you?
I want to improve individual well-being by promoting the consumption of healthy food.

What are the three things you would take with you on a deserted island?
My wife, my son, and my daughter.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Climate change is real. The consequences of climate change are immense and hence the need to temper that change is urgent. That is why we will need to switch to a more sustainable dietary pattern. This switch offers important potential for developing novel food products and production techniques that are more sustainable and impose less of a burden on the environment.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
A switch to more sustainable food consumption will have a marked environmental impact and, therefore, that switch is inevitable.

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
There are two barriers. Firstly, policy and regulations need to be created or adapted or abolished to facilitate the switch to a more sustainable production of food, and to foster the development of sustainable food products. Secondly, simply demanding a switch in eating behaviour from the individual consumer will never work. We are what we eat. Not being allowed to eat our preferred foods, implies letting go of an important part of our identity.

What do you hope people to learn from your presentation?
I hope to convince attendees that behavioural science (that is, psychology) is of immense value to new product development.

About Remco Havermans
Remco is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience of Maastricht University. Further, Remco is principal researcher in the Laboratory of Behavioural Gastronomy within the Centre for Healthy Eating and Food Innovation at Maastricht University Campus Venlo. In Venlo, his research team studies the central question why we eat what we eat, with special emphasis on healthy nutrition, flavour perception, and eating behaviour.

About Agrifood Innovation Event
The Agrifood Innovation Event is a dedicated and focused business and research platform, unique in bringing together European and global companies from the entire food industry chain: supply chain with customers, producers, retailers and researchers.

The Agrifood Innovation Event is a two-day Event (June 27-28, 2018) that includes 4 dedicated conferences and an expo.

Day 1: June 27, 2018 Day 2: June 28, 2018
Healthy Nutrition Conference Vertical Farming Conference 3D Food Printing Conference Smart Farming Conference
  • Smart & Healthy Ingredients
  • Sustainable Food Manufacturing
  • Protein Transition (e.g. insects and seaweed)
  • Food design
  • Innovative technologies for Healthy Nutrition
  • Available technologies – LED lighting, sensors, AI
  • From traditional farmer to vertical farmer
  • Robotics
  • Improved resource-use efficiency
  • Sustainable Buildings (design, green roof, energy)
  • Technologies for 3D Food Printing
  • Ingredients for 3D Food Printing
  • Patent issues
  • Legal issues
  • Regulatory issues
  • Investment opportunities
  • Research and development
  • Available technologies for Farming 4.0 – drones, sensors, Internet of Things, Robotics, etc
  • Precision agriculture
  • Precision Livestock Farming
  • Plant and crop science for improved resource-use
  • Investment in R&D
  • Cross disciplinary themes
Networking dinner

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