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The role of mainstream media, social media and marketing in fostering healthy and sustainable consumption patterns and how to encourage good practices
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 7: Innovative Governance, Environmental Oberservations and Digital Solutions in Support of the Green Deal
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal, Europe’s beating cancer plan, the farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environment‑friendly food system, the food 2030 priorities and the EU’s climate ambition for 2030 and 2050, the successful proposal will facilitate the transition towards healthy and sustainable dietary behaviour by supporting the establishment of innovative governance models notably to achieve better-informed decision-making processes, social engagement and innovation. The main objective of this topic is to better understand factors influencing dietary behaviour and to advance the understanding of the role of mainstream media, social media and digital marketing in fostering (un-)healthy and (un-)sustainable consumption patterns and to encourage good practices.
Food consumption cannot be considered the sole responsibility of citizens or a problem of demand only since it is a result of a choice that is influenced by culture, social and economic factors and where the food environment plays an important role. In todays’ interconnected world, the impacts of mainstream media, social media and digital marketing are amplified, with food influencers, NGOs and social platforms making citizens think differently about food. As studies show, since eating habits are also influenced by what consumers see, being virtually surrounded by healthy eaters may encourage consumers to eat healthier. However, the reverse is also true.
In addition, differences in media and marketing (both linear and non-linear) approaches of national/regional/local governments, civil society, and the private sector, can lead to differences in consumption patterns and food choices across different socio-economic and cultural groups. Moreover, television viewing and internet use has led to a more inactive, sedentary lifestyle, as well as more exposure to the marketing of products high in fat, sugar and/or salt among adults and children. Greater levels of TV viewing and internet use is associated with harmful effects on the eating habits of children. This includes higher consumption levels of products high in fat, sugar and/or salt. An improved understanding of these differences and drivers of food choices can support all food systems operators and actors to develop innovative and effective communication strategies (and related policy and regulatory frameworks) that would benefit all parts of the society and support a shift towards healthy and sustainable diets for all.
Proposed activities should cover all of the following aspects:
- Identify the various techniques and vehicles for spreading information and influence behaviour using different mainstream and social media channels (such as apps, websites, virtual consumer clubs and platforms), in particular mapping of new communication tools, algorithms and machines learning principles where citizens make food choices or are consciously or unconsciously influenced to change the consumption behaviour.
- Compare the different media and marketing (both linear and non-linear) approaches of national/regional/local governments, civil society, and the private sector, and assess how these different types of approaches and channels affect consumption patterns and food choices across different socio-economic and cultural groups, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable groups such as persons with low socio/economic status, infants and children or their parents responsible for their diets, respectively.
- Explore the impact of negative news (e.g., information on food safety risks, information on impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems) as compared with messages promoting positive outcomes of food choices (e.g., information on nutritional and health benefits) by, for example, conducting surveys or employing sentiment analyses. Assess whether parental control can be considered an effective strategy given the real-world context and levels of independent exposure of children to linear and non-linear media. Also explore the effects of misinformation (intentional or not), and how this propagates through different media.
- Identify innovative and effective tools to improve communication on sustainable healthy nutrition and diets, and more generally on sustainable food systems, thereby ensuring that all parts of the society are benefitting from access to information that foster uptake of healthy and sustainable diets and lead to the transformation of food systems, while respecting the EU and national legal framework and policies, national educational policies and advice on nutrition and food.
- Compile strategies and best practices – in compliance with the Best Practice Portal Protocols – for all food systems operators and actors for communication and outreach efforts to foster healthy, sustainable, and alternative consumption patterns and to encourage good practices, while respecting the EU and national legal framework and policies, national educational policies and advice on nutrition and food.
- Clearly explain how results will deliver co-benefits on Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the farm to fork strategy and on each of the food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities (e.g., meeting the needs, values and expectations of society in a responsible and ethical way).
Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach' and ensure adequate involvement of public authorities and civil society organisations, consumers, the private sector and other relevant actors of the value chain.
Where relevant, activities should build and expand on the recent studies carried out in this area (such as the study on the exposure of children to online marketing of foods high in fat, salt or sugar), on the results of past and ongoing EU joint actions (such as Best-ReMaP on diet and nutrition with a special focus on children) and EU research projects (such as the topics HORIZON-CL6-2021-FARM2FORK-01-15 and HORIZON-CL6-2023-COMMUNITIES), e.g. by participating in joint activities, workshops, as well as common communication and dissemination activities.
Proposals should bring together multiple types of scientific expertise in health and natural sciences, and social sciences and humanities (SSH). This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines (e.g., economics, sociology, human geography, management science, political science, citizen engagement studies, cultural studies, gender studies, etc.).
Efforts should be made to ensure that the data and the output produced in the context of this topic is FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable).
Projects results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Improved knowledge and understanding of how mainstream media, social media and marketing is affecting the dietary behaviour of different target groups (in particular vulnerable groups) across Europe, including barriers and constraints, as well as how to detect incorrect or misleading information.
- Better understanding of the different media and marketing (both linear and non-linear) approaches and channels used by different food system operators and actors.
- Enabling consumers to make informed food choices.
- Informed policies and business strategies aimed at fostering healthy and sustainable food environments, consumption patterns and at encouraging or incentivizing good practices.
- Contribution to the farm to fork objectives and food 2030 priorities: nutrition for sustainable healthy diets, climate, biodiversity and environment, circularity and resource efficiency, innovation and empowering communities (e.g., meeting the needs, values and expectations of society in a responsible and ethical way).
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Applications may be submitted by one or more legal entities, provided that one of those legal entities is established in a Member Sate or an Associated Country.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
The proposals must use the multi-actor approach. See definition of the multi-actor approach in the introduction to the Work Programme.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 33 pages.