Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Shifting the Food System

By Jane Campbell

12th July 2021

Shifting the food system: Frames to speed policy change shows that the public, when presented with food policies in a different way, may have much greater enthusiasm for changing our food system and the role that government can play in this transition, than many people think.

Polling conducted by FFCC has shown that framing food topics differently gives quite a different response. The research shows that people want governments and businesses to be brave and bold on food issues as long as the topics are framed with an understanding of the whole food system.

The focus of the research is on framing the ‘case for change’ and understanding participants’ attitudes to problems/solutions to issues around food and the level of responsibility governments have to improve health through diet. FFCC conducted 10 focus groups, with a total of 59 nationally and politically representative participants and worked with YouGov to conduct an online poll of 5,299 people. In the polling, participants were split into groups and saw one of the test frames – or no frame at all in the control group – and all answered the same questions.

The frames that worked best all contained a strong narrative, explaining the problem, clearly stating the solution and defining the role for government in enacting that solution (responsibility).

Frames that described problems, but didn’t clearly contain a solution or responsibility, left participants feeling that the problems were “too big.” When they didn’t know what to do about them, the participants often reverted back to individual level solutions like better education being the key to improving healthy eating.

Download a copy of the full report above.