WASHINGTON — “Gluten can’t free itself.” “Processing helps vegans be vegans.” “Alpha-tocopherol is only bad for you during the spelling bee.”
These messages are part of a campaign launched by the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) to counter misinformation about modern food processing and production.
|Joseph Clayton, c.e.o. of IFIC|
“We’re looking for more creative ways to share the science behind our food — what keeps it safe, healthy and more plentiful for consumers,” said Joseph Clayton, chief executive officer of IFIC. “Pseudo-scientific diet and health information surrounds us. We hope that some of these messages will help consumers stop, think and ultimately seek out more science-based information about their food.”
Behind the campaign is a team of self-proclaimed “food nerds,” who share consumer-friendly research and resources about food and agriculture on the campaign landing page. Topics covered include the benefits of biotechnology and precision agriculture in feeding a growing global population, and the role of processing in preserving food to prevent waste. The campaign also addresses what may be perceived as scary terms on food labels.
“The campaign will operate across three primary channels: paid social and digital media (primarily Facebook and banner advertising in outlets that serve our food-interested audiences), IFIC’s own social channels, and, finally, an earned media strategy that shares the creative and the thinking behind this project,” Mr. Clayton said. “The landing page is the hub for our content and links to IFIC’s experts and resources (our ‘food nerds’).
“We’re also presenting this content at industry meetings and conferences and sharing with nutrition and science organizations that have a stake in educating consumers about food safety, diet and health. We’re also sharing the campaign with food science education organizations in Europe, Latin America, Canada and Asia.”
The latest research by IFIC reveals consumers are confused and overwhelmed by conflicting information about food and nutrition, which may lead to faulty decisions about diets and health. IFIC’s 2017 Food and Health Survey found that consumers may associate product formats such as fresh, frozen or canned with health and nutrition. The survey showed that with nutritionally identical products consumers are almost five times as likely to believe a fresh product is healthier than a canned version.That’s one of many misconceptions tackled in the campaign. Interactive graphics, videos and articles may be found at www.foodinsight.org/processthis.