On September 3–4, 2015, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board convened a workshop in Washington, DC, to discuss how communications and marketing impact consumer knowledge, skills, and behavior around food, nutrition, and healthy eating. The workshop was divided into three sessions, each with specific goals that were developed by the planning committee:
- Session 1 described the current state of the science concerning the role of consumer education, health communications and marketing, commercial brand marketing, health literacy, and other forms of communication in affecting consumer knowledge, skills, and behavior with respect to food safety, nutrition, and other health matters.
- Session 2 explored how scientific information is communicated, including the credibility of the source and of the communicator, the clarity and usability of the information, misconceptions/misinformation, and the impact of scientific communication on policy makers and the role of policy as a macro-level channel of communication.
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and the workshop summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants and are not necessarily endorsed or verified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
- Session 3 explored the current state of the science concerning how food literacy can be strengthened through communication tools and strategies.
The statement of task for the workshop is provided in Box I-1. The organization of this summary parallels that of the workshop itself. Chapter 1 summarizes the presentations and discussion that took place during Session 1, which addressed food literacy and the role of communications relating to food safety, nutrition, and other health matters. Chapter 2 summarizes the presentations and discussion that occurred during Session 2, which explored food literacy and communications conveying scientific information concerning food safety, nutrition, or other health matters—opportunities and challenges. Chapter 3 summarizes the Session 3 presentations and discussion on promoting food literacy: communication tools and strategies. Finally, Chapter 4 summarizes the concluding session, which included discussion of next steps in food literacy. Each chapter begins with an overview of key points made during the respective session. Appendix A presents the workshop agenda; Appendix B provides a list of acronyms and abbreviations used; and Appendix C contains biosketches of the workshop speakers.
Workshop Statement of Task
An ad hoc committee will plan and conduct a 2-day public workshop that will explore the current state of knowledge regarding the role of communications and marketing on consumer knowledge and behavior, specifically related to how commercial and public health messaging concerning food, nutrition, and food safety inform, influence, and impact the population at the individual, family, and community levels regarding food choices and behavior. The workshop agenda will include presentations and discussion that will address scientific credibility, the role of scientific communications in consumer knowledge and behavior related to food and nutrition, and the impact of marketing on consumer decision making.
The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. After the workshop, a brief workshop summary and full workshop summary of the event will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.