Thanks to a large flow of visitors – 200,000 to 300,000 each year – WFC Experience offers massive opportunities for a comprehensive research programme on sustainable food. The universities of Groningen, Maastricht, Nijmegen, Utrecht and Wageningen are running this programme. They are doing this in consultation with TiFN, Alliantie Voeding [the Food Alliance] and the Food & Cognition research programme (in formation) and collaborating with industry and government. The research programme builds bridges between research communities.
“More and more research is being conducted with, for and by consumers. The difference with less recent research is that consumers are now considered in a much broader context. What’s more, the consumer is being studied more in depth. What do consumers eat? What would be healthier for them? Why do consumers choose this or that? What is the impact of it all? WFC Experience offers lots of opportunities to collect more information about this,” says Brenda Israël, business relations manager at Wageningen University & Research.
There are four topics: health, consumer behaviour, co-creation and a sustainable and safe food chain. The study also looks at the interrelations between the topics. “We connect worlds and have access to a great deal of expertise. In the studies we link food to medical aspects and behavioural sciences, among other things.” Fictitious examples: what effect does the text on food packaging have on consumers? And what perception do people have of healthy food?

Scientifically relevant and practical

WFC Experience attracts many visitors each year who may participate in the research on a voluntary basis. Chances are that the research team will be able to commit larger numbers of people to projects in this manner. “This gives us various opportunities to connect. On the one hand, we can gain a general picture, while on the other hand we can also take into account specific target groups. By making a selection based on age and specific characteristics, for example. The researcher’s results can also become more personalised this way,” says Brenda Israël of Wageningen University & Research.
Thanks to the link with WFC the study will reach a broader audience. That is good both for the study and for the impact it will have. The idea is to promote the research programme among other parties involved in the WFC Experience. In-depth scientific studies will be organised for long-term projects. The study will be coordinated with major research programmes such as TiFN and Food & Cognition. In addition, the experts are working on applied research.