Department of Management

Transferability of private food marketing success factors to public food and health policy: An expert Delphi survey

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jessica Aschemann-Witzel
  • Federico Jose Armando Perez-Cueto, Department of Agricultural Economics, BelgiumBarbara Niedzwiedzka, Institute of Public Health, PolandWim Verbeke, Department of Agricultural Economics, Belgium
  • Tino Bech-Larsen
Public policy activities to promote healthy diets have been criticised for their lack of success. Applying a marketing approach to non-commercial policy objectives such as healthy eating, termed social marketing, is an emerging but as yet underdeveloped field. An earlier study conducted a case analysis of recent
successful commercial food marketing and identified key success factors that may be further transferred to the public sector. Six of these factors (trend awareness, endorsement, emotion, common value, media coverage, and ‘why and how’) were presented to and discussed by 31 experts in a two-round Delphi survey. The objective was to determine to what extent these factors are used in public information and social marketing campaigns for healthier eating, and what is required to successfully transfer those factors into the public arena. The analysis shows that ‘classic’ information campaigns prevail. In considering which factors to explore, emphasis is given to low-cost factors, trust building, and the potential to lead to long-term behaviour change. Close cooperation with stakeholders, targeted approaches with a fitting combination of factors, and a consistent message are highlighted. Important target group differences regarding the application of the success factors are age, life-cycle stage, education, and level of healthy eating involvement. It is argued that policy makers possess the data to help prepare targeted approaches and that they enjoy good credibility, but lack the knowhow to exploit the data and understand the target groups. Weaknesses are also seen in a lack of coordination and effective decision-making structures, as well as a lack of accountability among policy makers. A number of themes were repeatedly mentioned as being important, including the need for evaluating effectiveness, the issue of funding, and improved stakeholder
cooperation and knowledge exchange. It is concluded that, depending on the objective and target group in question, all factors are deemed relevant to consider, but low cost techniques can be an especially favourable addition. Effectiveness measurements ought to be established to determine the added value of new and different approaches. Of crucial importance for long-term success is building trust in public policy institutions and activities, cooperative efforts and consistency, and coupling public information and social marketing campaigns with structural changes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Policy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)650–660
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2012

    Research areas

  • MAPP, Public health, Social marketing, Diet, Success, Transferability, Delphi expert

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