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Listening Table | Flemish Government

At the ‘Listening Table’ we researched how Flemish people’s diets are changing.

The Department of Environment of the Flemish Government (Belgium) wanted to better understand what is needed to make a protein shift: what motivates ‘the consumer’ to shift from an animal-based diet to a plant-based diet? We used Large-scale Listening (based on the SenseMaker methodology) to get more insights into the socio-cultural dimensions related to food consumption.

Students from VIVES college, Ghent University, the University of Hasselt and the University of Antwerp, volunteers from Ghent, Leuven and Ostend, and market research agency Ipsos, gathered almost 2000 stories about eating less - or more - meat/fish.

“When discussing food, this often does not happen factually or objectively. We like to share what we have experienced through stories. The stories that come from within us, are part of our identity and tell something about where we come from. They tell us something about what we like to do or eat, or what we do not like. Stories are full of feelings, norms, values and preferences.” (Kristof Rubens, Department of Environment)

Voices That Count guided the entire process: from developing the questions, the training of story collectors and follow-up, to the analysis of the results.

At the end, we organised three workshops with several stakeholders on the Green Deal Protein Shift: together we dove into the stories and collected insights around critical moments that led to diet changes on the one hand, and the characteristics of flexitarians on the other hand.

However, this is not the end of the story … Researcher from a.o. Ghent University - Belgium (Prof. Hendrik Slabbinck and Nicky Coucke) will continue to analyse the data and combine it with insights from other studies.


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