Every Consumer Counts! – Watch our Video from the #FoodFuture Ideas Fest!

Climate change, nutrition, and circular economy are some of the biggest challenges facing the food chain today. In June 2023, FoodDrinkEurope invited experts from academia, policy, civil society, and business to Brussels to explore the necessary transformation that our food systems need to take forward rapidly in the next few years.

The event was attended by about 550 stakeholders and it was driven primarily by inspiring talks across three thematic tents that focused on challenges and solutions related to climate change, nutrition, and Circular Economy.

Mariana Nicolau, CSCP Project Manager, held a talk at the Circular Economy tent on the importance of enabling circular behaviours among consumers in the food realm.

Changes in consumption behaviours and dominant lifestyles are increasingly recognised as one of the key levers for enabling the transition to a circular economy, as the success of new circular business models and policy measures largely depend on a social engagement component (EEA, 2019).

However, the majority of studies and strategies on the Circular Economy are still framed from a production and business model perspective, while the level of public engagement is still relatively low and the role of people in the process is largely overlooked*. This is an issue, as consumers play a key role in advancing circular solutions to close material loops – ultimately, the decision lies with them on whether they engage with circular behaviours (e.g., repair, reuse) or not**.

In this context, in her talk, Nicolau emphasised the importance of having a realistic view on people’s behaviours in order to develop circular engagement solutions that are suitable to their actual needs. She highlighted the three key YESES that are needed in order to change behaviours towards circularity, perhaps through a more circular product, service or initiative.

  • The motivation aspect: Do people want to endorse the circular offer you want them to?
  • The capability aspect: Can people actually do the circular action you expect from them?
  • The opportunity aspect: Do people have a reason to act more circular now (and not shift it to tomorrow or next year)?

Watch the recording of the talk for all details!


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For additional questions and to engage with us on enabling circular behaviours, please contact Mariana Nicolau.

* Selvefors, 2019; van den Berge et al., 2021
** van den Berge et al., 2021