background research - food information

Food Information Transparency from gusepo on Vimeo.

Accessing food information is an everyday task considered important by almost everyone for a number of different reasons including diets, personal beliefs, food scares, economical and ethical concerns.
The information required by shoppers is not always easily available. Almost 30% of shoppers find hard to understand the information and symbols they find on food packaging. More explanations are required on products packaging, but at the same time, for environmental reasons, packaging have to be reduced, that brings to a packaging paradox: the impossibility of putting more information in less space.

“Shoppers are demanding more information about the products they buy and are becoming increasingly aware of the wider consequences of the decisions that they make. For some, the increasing amount of information provided can actually become so confusing that they ignore it all and focus only on price.”
Shopping choices: attraction or distraction?  IGD 2007

I started my research on food information from local food production. There are several projects in London about local food production and consumption, such as Capital Growth or Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses.
After a primary research on local production I understood that in local context information is passed directly from producers to consumers and the relationship is mainly based on personal trust. I then focused my research on contexts where there is not direct contact between producers and consumers such as common supermarket shopping.
There are many projects regarding food information.
Some are run by producers such as Dole Farm Information, it gives the possibility to check the origin of fruit typing a code on company's web site.
Academic projects, such as Fair Tracing, aimed at supporting ethical trade by "implementing IT Tracking and Tracing Technologies in supply chains to provide consumers and producers with enhanced information."
UGC (User Generated Content) projects such as Buy It Like You Mean It, the project aim is to create a database of ethical and environmental information that can be accessed on-line or through text messages.
Government projects such as the Food Standard Agency Traffic light labeling, a labeling system to quickly check health information.