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How to make risk communication influence behavior change

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Kjetil Aune


Trends in Food Science & Technology ; Volume 84. p. 71–73. 2019

Ueland, Øydis

Background: The aims of risk communication to consumers are at least two-fold: to provide information about a food risk or safety issue, and for education purposes enabling a change towards safer behavior. Scope and approach: In this paper, challenges confronting risk communicators in providing information consumers act upon will be summarily addressed. The emergence of web-based communication channels as avenues for improved dissemination will also be discussed. Key findings and conclusions: Studies show that providing relevant risk messages to vulnerable consumers and target groups requires in-depth knowledge about the receivers of information. Characteristics of these groups may vary across countries, cultures and from case to case, therefore it may be necessary to collect more information about how risk communication should be presented and in which channels to reach the target groups. Messages should be repeated regularly and presented in a way that seems relevant to consumers; less statistics and more stories that they can relate to. Internet is rapidly becoming the number one information channel. Using social media, and web-based tools and games have the potential to rapidly reach specific target groups. Achieving behavior change is dependent on the consumers perceiving the risk information to be relevant for themselves.

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