Research project
36 | monthsCON_INN

Consumers perception and acceptance of innovative food and production systems

Related toSpoke 01

Principal investigators
Cristina Mora,Pasquale Filannino

Other partecipantsDavide Menozzi, Daniela Caso, Pietro Santamaria, Annalisa De Boni, Piero Portincasa, Irene Canfora, Pasquale Filannino, Gaetano Chinnici, Alessandro Scuderi, Biagio Pecorino, gruppo UniPI
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Task involved

Task 1.3.3.

Consumers perception on food innovation: analysis of consumers social and cultural acceptance of new foods (including novel food and reformulated foods), new technologies, combined with innovative distribution channels, new packaging for multiple sustainable objectives, and efficient communication systems (in connection with Spoke 4).

Project deliverables


Report on consumers social and cultural acceptance of new technologies, combined with innovative distribution channels and new packaging (M12)


Report on the perception of innovative sustainable food products and their production processes in relation to lifestyles, sustainability, and climate change (M12)


Report on legal issues, consumers benefits and acceptance of new and novel foods (M24)


Report on responsible product purchasing through an effective sustainable certification system (M36).

State of the art

Modifying dietary habits is needed to tackle health and sustainability issues, and to help provide sufficient, nutritious, safe, accessible, and affordable food to a growing population. The agrifood system is called to produce healthy food with sustainable technologies. Innovative foods (e.g. biofortified foods, etc.) and production systems (e.g. hydroponic systems, etc.) are challenging consumers’ trust, acceptance, being exposed to neophobia or rejection of new foods and technologies. Consumers' awareness and information, social norms, and other psychological constructs (e.g. self and social identity, trust in institutions, etc.) are expected to moderate consumers’ perception and acceptance of new healthy and sustainable foods and production systems. In this context, the analysis of consumers’ behavior and its drivers helps to assess the effectiveness of communication strategies, including front-of-pack (FOP) labels, to guide consumers’ choices towards more sustainable and healthy options.

Operation plan

Given this context, UNIPR, UNIB, UNINA, UNICT and UNIPI will conduct studies investigating consumers’ perception, acceptance, and willingness to purchase novel food products (e.g. biofortified products, like potatoes with selenium or oranges with iodine – UNICT), food products with innovative labeling systems (e.g. dual labeling systems with nutrition and environmental indications – UNIPR), or food produced with new techniques (e.g. vegetables grown with hydroponic systems and "fermented" vegetables through the use of biotechnology – UNIBA). The data will be collected with questionnaires and surveys (UNIPR, UNIBA), with the application of theoretical frames (Theory of planned behavior – UNINA) or experiments (conjoint, eye tracking, etc.) (UNICT, UNIPR), preceded by the analysis of the literature (UNIPR, UNIBA). UNIBA-UNIPR will analyze legislative policies and legal tools aimed at improving the consumer education to safe and healthy diet.

Expected results

The task will provide insights to develop systems, strategies and tools to communicate innovative attributes, e.g. nutritional value and sustainable performance of food products. The effectiveness of labeling systems will be assessed. UNINA will evaluate how labels can communicate and help new and old consumers to make more conscious and eco-friendly choices. UNIPR will investigate the impact of a dual system (e.g. nutria-, eco-label), and their combination on perceived healthfulness and sustainability. UNIBA will propose strategies to communicate the value of innovative food for safe, healthy and environment preservation, and will develop guidelines on responsible and sustainable product purchasing. UNICT will verify the acceptance and preferences towards biofortified food (e.g. selenium potatoes, iodine citrus fruits, etc.) to identify preferences and informed food choices across segments. Industries and businesses could gain insights on how to develop FOP labels and/or reformulate their products.