Tourism and Service Management

Sustainable Food Communication

Sustainability information needs to be communicated effectively to change awareness and consumption levels of tourists towards more sustainable behavior. Building on the results of the study “Sustainable Food in the Holiday Context” conducted from September 2015 to March 2016 by the same project team, the main goals of the project ’Sustainable Food Communication’ were to develop effective tools for communicating the sustainability dimensions of the food on offer to hotel guests and to measure the impact of different communication instruments on guest awareness, attitudes and behavior regarding sustainable food in holiday hotels. Fourteen different displays and signage were developed and implemented at the breakfast offer. The local origin and authenticity of food products as well as the prevention of plate waste were chosen as the central sustainability dimensions to be communicated to hotel guests. In a series of experiments, the effectiveness of the communication tools was empirically tested and showed consistently positive results.

In hotel resorts in Gran Canaria, the use of a combination of tools such as posters (in the lobby), speech bubbles on the buffet, local product displays (on the buffet) and table displays increased the consumption of local food significantly (by up to 350 % per product). At the same time, a combination of tools addressing issues related to food waste reduced the edible plate waste by 15%. Overall, guests consider food sustainability and especially food waste prevention in hotels important. The messages on the communication tools are all effective, and the tools at the guest tables proved most effective in communicating the messages. The results of the experiments and surveys were summarized in individual management summaries for the participating hotels. Furthermore, the manual “Sustainable Food Tools – Ways to communicate with the guests” was published in English and German and enables practitioners to develop such communication tools by using the guidelines and printable templates of the 14 tools of this manual. Futouris e.V. and their partner corporations will support the dissemination of the study results and the available communication tools to other hotels in holiday destinations. The manual “Sustainable Food Tools – Ways to communicate with the guests” is free to download from here (in English) and here (in German).

Project leader: Dagmar Lund-Durlacher

Period: August 2016 – December 2017

Project team members: Hannes Antonschmidt, MODUL University Vienna; Klaus Fritz, FH Wien der Wirtschaftskammer Wien, Eva-Maria Frey, Informationsdesign

Contractor: Futouris e.V., Germany