Organisations in the food industry make decisions about new products and marketing campaigns without having an accurate understanding of consumer eating patterns. In other words: how what is eaten and when. They use intensive processes, trial-and-error methods, inaccurate sources and low-quality figures.
Measuring food consumption and understanding the factors that determine consumer behaviour is difficult and often takes place in an unstructured and ad hoc way in the Netherlands and Europe. No infrastructure exists with which to systematically collect this data. Researchers studying food and food consumption patterns currently lack large-scale, up to date and reliable data. What consumers eat and how and when they eat it remains unclear.
FoodProfiler makes it possible to collect data in an international context and conduct research on consumer behaviour in relation to consumption patterns. The near-time registration over the past two hours, the long-term measurements and the large groups of consumers provide an abundance of reliable information and insights.
Technological developments such as apps offer countless opportunities to collect data in an international context. This data can be used to carry out studies on consumer behaviour in relation to food consumption patterns. Wageningen Economic Research is currently developing a new method for collecting data on food consumption patterns.
FoodProfiler is an app that consumers can use to enter the food they have eaten. The app sends random reminders to have users enter information about what they ate in the past two hours. They can indicate whether they had a snack, lunch or a full meal and what exactly they ate (e.g. salad with apple and goat cheese). Once the profile has been completed, they will discover what type of eater they are. For instance, they may learn they eat a lot of vegetables and very little fruit compared to the average Dutch profile. This is healthy, but it can be even healthier. For more information, watch the FoodProfiler video.
This gives us insight into the consumption patterns of large groups of people and helps us understand who ate what and how and when it was eaten. The near-time registration over the past two hours, the long-term measurements and the large groups of consumers provide an abundance of reliable information and insights. This method therefore provides usable data that brings us one step closer to understanding and explaining consumer choices. The data provides insight into who eats specific foods and what, where, why and how this food is eaten.