Research Projects

Sustainable Shopping App – Goodness Groceries!

 

The Sustainable Food Practices team has been working with specialists in Green IT (https://bicshub.uni.lu) at the University of Luxembourg, in a PPP with the supermarket chain Pall Centeron an experimental and transdisciplinary project. The objective of the project is to create and pilot aapplication presentingethical and eco-responsible information about products, for consumers to peruse while shopping for food. This information will be built around the four sustainability categories environment, social wellbeing, economic wellbeing and good governance (SAFA guidelines).  

This tool, Goodness Groceries, will be a virtual shopping companion for customers in the form of a mobile phone app, which will allow them to scan a QR code on food packaging, and show them information about the sustainable attributes of the productThese are the attributes that sociological studies have revealed to be the most relevant to the daily priorities, concerns and constraints that consumers have. 

Such a user-friendly tool will allow consenting, random consumers to draw contextual, precise and concise information, in a technically easy-to-use way and on the spot when selecting products. The product information provided inGoodness Groceries will look at how actors, methods and practices at all stages of the food chain meet the four categories: Environment, Social well-being, Economic well-being, and Good Governance. This includes looking at the place of production, the type of production or transformation, transport distance, ecological and social impact of these practices, but also the qualitative properties of food, etc. Content will be tailored to the specific interests of each consumer.  

The partnership with Pall Center will enable us to collect consumer purchasing data, from before, during, and after the studyby utilising customer cardsThis will allow us to measure the potential impact of such a tool. 

The study also comprises qualitative interviews with consumers following the implementation phase, revealing if such a tool was perceived to be useful or if there was resistance or disinterest – and for what reasons. What content influenced pilot-consumers’ choices of different foods, ideally a more ethical and eco-responsible one? Thus, qualitative interviews with consumers on their experiences of shopping and receiving tailor-made ethical information via an app on their phones will highlight the potential scope of such targeted, yet quickly accessible and flexible intervention – both during ordinary food shopping decision-making and, potentially, for a longer-term sustainable and reflexive consumption. 

The four sustainability categories:

Environment: efforts are made, during the various phases of production and consumption of food, to minimise negative impacts on nature and even create positive side effects. This makes our food system more ecologically sustainable. (Indicators: Animal welfare, Biodiversity, Health of Flora and Fauna, Soil fertility) 

Economic well-being: all the people working in food production have present and future financial security. Societies as a whole prosper through their food production activities, which build not only financial gains but also social ones. To achieve this, more local, circular and solidarity-based food production is fostered. (Indicators: Producer sovereignty, Food miles, Local economy) 

Social well-being: every human being is able to fulfil their basic human needs, and has the right and freedom to pursue their aspirations for a better life, without compromising the ability of others and of future generations to do the same. (Indicators: Decent livelihoods, Social equity, Labour rights, Fair trade practices) 

Good governance: the way companies conduct business, manage their resources and assets, and shape their interactions and decision-making processes. All product information is transparent and easily accessible. Enterprises use participatory approaches and include producers in decisions. Ultimately, enterprises can be held accountable for their claims. (Indicators: Transparency, Participation, Sustainability Management)

This information will be available for four versions of one staple product (example products include flour, milk, honey etc.). The four versions of each product will be one of each of the following types: conventional local, organic local, conventional imported and local imported.

Project lead: University of Luxembourg (Dr. Rachel Reckinger, Dr. Benoît Ries, Prof. Dr. Nicolas Guelfi)

Partner institute: Pall Center

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