January - March 2022 Updates to ACSS Members

Last updated: 14 June 2022

ACSS Members Update January – March 2022


  • Food and You 2: Wave 3 was published in January. This Wave included new questions on online platforms and healthy eating in Northern Ireland (healthy eating questions will be published in a separate Northern Ireland report). Fieldwork for Wave 4, which includes new questions on sustainable diets and meat alternatives, has now completed and will be reporting in Summer 2022. The first trend report (looking at trends between Waves 1-4) will be published after Wave 4.


  • Kitchen Life 2: The pilot study, with 2 domestic and 2 commercial kitchens, was completed in July 2021. The aim of the pilot was to test the logistical elements of the research, including recruitment and video camera set-up. The pilot also gave the opportunity to trial the analysis approach and devise a framework for analysing mainstage fieldwork. Wave 1 (with 10 domestic and 10 commercial kitchens) is complete, including filming, analysis, follow-up surveys and interviews now complete and the dashboard containing Wave 1 data for households provided to the FSA. Commercial data to shortly follow. Recruitment has commenced for Wave 2. Wave 3 is underway, and Wave 4 will take place in summer 2022.


  • Behavioural Change: We have been developing a programme of work on behavioural insights. Over the next few months, we will look to publish our first round of results and develop the work programme further. Building on a series of evidence reviews we are currently delivering a number of behavioural trials and design work focused on food safety behaviours and healthy and sustainable diet shift, including: 


Food Safety Behaviours 

  • a trial testing the effects of pro-active allergen communication in Food Business Operators on consumer experiences and choices.  
  • a trial testing whether behavioural interventions can improve handwashing in Food Business Operators.   
  • the design of a trial to test an intervention to improving adherence to use-by-dates amongst vulnerable groups.   


Healthy and Sustainable Diet Shift 

  • a trial to encourage sustainable diets shift through free samples and loyalty cards in workplace canteens;  
  • a trial to test the relative impacts of overt or covert product ordering intervention on sustainable consumer choices during online food shopping  


  • Citizen science: The 6 projects funded by the joint FSA/UKRI funding call are now all underway. The programme of work is being coordinated by the social science team with each project allocated an FSA lead in an appropriate part of the FSA Science Directorate. A joint event with UKRI is planned for June 2022, showcasing this work and providing development and networking opportunities for those with an interest in the citizen science approach.


  • Food hypersensitivity: The findings from our research study with consumers and businesses on Precautionary Allergen Labelling (PAL) has reported. Findings show that consumers find PAL vague and confusing, particularly as many consumers thought the absence of a PAL label meant that the food was safe to eat. Small and medium size businesses felt that support on when and how PAL should be applied would be welcomed. The report is due to be published in May/ June. The PAL consultation has now closed, and analysis has begun.


  • The Wider Consumer Interests Programme: This research was conducted to understand consumer interests, needs and concerns in relation to food, covering a range of issues such as food safety and hygiene, health and nutrition and environment and sustainability. We are in the final stages of this research project, with quantitative and qualitative fieldwork completed between November 2021 and January 2022. Analysis and reporting is currently in the final stages and we are hoping to publish the research in May or June. Future publications include: A ‘stories’ report, which represents voices of people who are often less heard by policymakers; a ‘Consumer Segmentation’ involving attitudinal and behavioural drivers of views with demographic profiling.




  • The Assurance working group is currently working with UCL on the development of a ‘good science’ quality assurance checklist/toolkit to support the commissioning of high-quality research across our sciences. Focus groups have been run with FSA analytical staff to explore useful content.


  • The newly formed Economic Support working group, is currently developing terms of reference. The next step for the working group will be to review the portfolio of work currently under management of the Economics team, to identify areas where the group can usefully contribute and to develop a forward work plan for the group. 


  • The Climate Change and Consumer Behaviour working group have completed phase 1 and 2 work, following the second expert engagement workshop. The working group are currently working on a final output synthesising findings from the 2 workshops and considering future activity.


  • The Wider Consumer Interest working group are currently agreeing their Terms of References to support the responsive nature of the FSA’s Wider Consumer Interest workstream in order help identify areas were the workstream can focus on.


  • The Kitchen Life 2 working group continues to support the innovative, cross-cutting, and multi-disciplinary research project. The working group have provided feedback on the projects data dashboard and given insight on potential secondary analysis ideas. 


Other News


  • ACCS recruitment: the recruitment campaign is now live and closes on the 24th April. Please share the link with your networks and contacts:


  • FSA 5-year Strategy Launch: Last month the FSA published its strategy for improving food over the next five years and recommitted to its mission of food you can trust. The five-year strategy reflects the FSA’s greater responsibilities now that the UK is outside of the EU and takes into account growing public concern about health and climate change. You can find the full strategy here



  • Move to HTML: From March 2022, the FSA is publishing all content in HTML format. HTML format better supports reading for those who use assistive reading technologies such as screen readers. All outputs, including research reports, will need to be in HTML format. The comms team is helping with this transition through training sessions, as well as creating new report templates.



Upcoming events   


  • 19th April: WCI working group meeting
  • 20th April: CCCB working group meeting
  • 24th April: closing date for ACSS applications
  • 9th May: Assurance working group meeting
  • June TBC: UKRI/FSA citizen science event
  • May/June TBC: Economic support working group meeting
  • 20th July: 9th ACSS plenary






  • Food and You 2 – Wave 3: Key findings from wave 3 of Food and You 2 survey which measures self-reported consumer knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to food safety and other food issues amongst adults.






  • COVID-19 tracker survey report: The COVID-19 consumer tracker ran for 19 months (19 waves) from April 2020 to October 2021, resulting in three reports. The monthly tracker was intended to understand consumers’ concerns around food insecurity and their experience of food unavailability, to understand and observe food behaviours that put consumers health and safety at risk and to understand the pattern and changes in food consumption and purchasing behaviours over the pandemic.





  • Twitter Food Trends: This report gives a summary of social media analysis divided by key categories to build our understanding of the views and concerns of the public when it comes to food in 2019-20. This was an interesting period to look at the way people were talking about food about how interests and concerns changed alongside global events.  


  • Eating Well Choosing Better Tracking Survey - Wave 7: This tracking survey monitors consumer understanding and knowledge of recommended daily calorie intake, use of traffic light labels, attitudes towards reformulation and calorie information and awareness of campaign communications delivered by the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland. 




  • Consumer Insights tracker report: Nov-March 22 data (TBC May 22)


  • Handwashing tracker (TBC May/ June 22)


  • Food hypersensitivity (TBC May/ June 22)