PhD "Consumer Response to positioning of Plant based Meat and Dairy alternatives"

Published on
May 14, 2020
Location Wageningen
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We are looking for

We are looking for a PhD candidate to investigate marketing and naming strategies for plant based meat and dairy alternatives in the supermarket. Do consumers really see vegetarian meat and dairy alternatives as meat and milk? And would that be good for those alternatives, as the meat and dairy industry fear? What do consumers think about really distinct meat alternatives, such as falafel?

In this multidisciplinary project ‘Accelerating the Transition to Plant-Based Proteins’, funded by the NWO Transition and Behaviour programme, we examine the opportunities for making the transition to plant-based proteins as alternatives for meat and dairy products. The Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (MCB) group of Wageningen collaborates in this project with Innovation Science at Utrecht University, Psychology at Utrecht University, Industrial Design at TU Delft and a number of private partners.

As a PhD candidate with the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour group in this project, you will uncover the extent to which positioning plant based alternatives as direct analogues to existing product (as the vegetarian butcher is currently doing) is a relevant long term strategy for consumer adoption, or that alternative approaches may be equally or even more useful in the long term. Using different research methods you will investigate what consumers associate with plant based protein and in what ways relevant knowledge about, e.g. taste expectation, preparation routines, location in the supermarket relates to long term strategies for these products.

You will work closely with the researchers at the University of Utrecht and Delft University of Technology. The PhD position is for 4 years, funded by NWO and in collaboration with various public and private partners. This offers major advantages for the PhD candidate in terms of opportunities to collect high-quality data, additional funds for travelling, and close interactions and discussions improving the quality and relevancy of the research projects. Within the MCB group, this project will be part of the sub-programme on consumer response to new technologies in food and food production which currently has several PhD and postdoc positions and is led by Arnout Fischer.

We ask

We are looking for a colleague who:

  • has a successfully completed MSc degree related to behavioural aspects of consumer decision making (e.g, marketing, psychology, communication science);
  • has a passion for quantitative research, with an open eye to qualitative approaches that may inform the quantitative analysis;
  • is a teammate, open to collaboration across scientific fields;
  • has the ambition to contribute to scientific progress as well as to performing societally relevant research;
  • has excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
You will also have to meet the entry requirements of the WUR PhD programme.

We offer

You will receive a fully funded PhD (AIO) position according to the Collective Labour Agreement (scale P) of the Dutch Universities. You will be employed by Wageningen University, where you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs.
The gross salary for the first year is €2.325,- per month rising to €2.972,- in the fourth year. This is based on a full working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended to 48 months if you perform well.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural end-of year bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours that we determine together in good consultation;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes, e.g. the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra for extra leave;
  • a flexible model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • make use of the sports facilities on campus for a small fee.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with our internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for personal initiative in a learning environment. With us you get a versatile job in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this function, please contact Dr. Arnout Fischer, Associate Professor, Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group, 0317-483053 or by e-mail

For more information about the procedure you can contact Sandra Willemsen, Recruiter, or Bianca Aversteeg, Recruitment support via

Do you want to apply?
This can be done directly via the application button at the vacancy on our website so that we can process your personal data with your permission.

This vacancy is open up to and including the 4th of June, 2020. The job interviews will take place in June, 2020. We envisage a starting date of the 1st of September, 2020.

Equal opportunities employer
We are an employer that offers equal opportunities. We are happy to receive applications from all suitably qualified people regardless of race, gender, functional impairment, religion / belief, sexual orientation or age.

We believe that a diverse and inclusive working environment makes us a more relevant, competitive and resilient organization. Click here for more information about working at WUR with a functional impairment.

We are

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment.

With approximately 30 locations, 6.500 employees, and 12.000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

Click here for more information about working at Wageningen University & Research.

Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group
The Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (MCB) Group is part of the department of Social Sciences of Wageningen University. MCB currently consists of 12 staff members and 20 postdocs/PhD’s ensuring a lively collaborative working environment. The domain of the MCB group’s research program is food and agribusiness. This domain provides excellent opportunities to contribute to knowledge in the field of marketing and consumer behaviour. It is MCB’s mission to contribute to effective food and agribusiness marketing systems to satisfy both the short term needs of customers, primary producers, and stakeholders, and the long-term (societal) viability of the system as a whole. The MCB group is a leading research group in marketing and consumer behaviour in the domain of food and agribusiness. The group has strong links with other European and US universities that also focus their marketing and consumer behaviour research in this domain.

More information about Wageningen Campus you can find here.

We do the recruiting for this vacancy ourselves. Please do not contact us for sales purposes.

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