DOES how much we learn about food in our early years influence what we choose to eat later in life?
Final year Harper Adams University student Nieves Lovatt is tackling this question with her honours research project: ‘To what to extent does education in the farm to fork supply chain in younger years influence Generation Z’ food choices, does this reflect their attitudes towards sustainable food consumption?’
“I am seeking to explore whether education at school or in the home has been important in helping generation Z develop a positive beneficial relationship with the food they eat and whether it impacts upon their opinions on sustainability and, therefore, their lifestyle choices,” said Nieves, 21, from Leicestershire, who is due to graduate in 2021 with an honours degree in Agri-Food Marketing and Business.
“In this current climate, with rising food awareness and social media, it is important for us to be clued up on the food supply chain so we can make decisions based on facts. The farming industry comes under heavy scrutiny for its methods. However, I don’t believe enough is done to educate people truly about where their food comes from and how it gets to us.
“The most susceptible age for learning is when we are young, therefore I believe it is important to educate children on this topic.
“By developing children’s understanding of agriculture and the supply chain, they will be able to take their knowledge of this into adulthood, helping them to make informed decisions on eating a balanced diet, as well as considering other factors in order to eat a sustainable diet,” added Nieves, who was raised on a dairy farm and chose her degree because of her long-standing desire to connect consumers with food origins.
“I have always been passionate about the link from farming to the rest of the supply chain, seeing that often farmers are put at the bottom of the pile. However, after my year at Waitrose in Bracknell, I found out how little people know about where their food comes from and would really love to go into education. I am also an avid foodie, and see good food as a great way to get people involved in our industry.”
Project supervisor Helen Pittson, Senior Lecturer Food Science and Human Nutrition, added: “I think this is a very interesting study and will provide information to those setting curriculums for children as to how influential education in farm to fork is on their food choices later in life.”
n Anyone aged 18-24, but particularly those who are not from farming backgrounds, is urged to assist with the study by completing the survey harper-adams.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/dissertation-questionnaire-7