Food for Thought Challenge 2017
Click on each of the images below to see the outputs that the students on the 2017 Challenge produced.
My Food: Feed Green
Students in this group set up an initiative called Feed Green to try to encourage more students to make home cooked meals, as opposed to ready meals. Feed Green would post a cooking video to their blog every week, demonstrating how to make a quick, healthy meal, with detailed written instructions beside it. They hoped that by producing these recipes in student kitchens with student equipment, this would make it relatable. The idea came out of a survey they ran of students at the University where they found that a lot people relied on ready meals, but said that they would would like to learn how to cook healthier meals. This is their promotional leaflet.
My Food: Mood Food
Students in this group focused on how what we eat affects how we feel. They decided to investigate this, because knowing that there are so many different diets, they hypothesised that these may have an impact on mood. They surveyed over a hundred people in varying age groups about their diet (omniviore, vegetrain, pescatarian or vegan) and their mood in the last fortnight. They found that, generally, vegetarians and vegans experienced better mood and higher energy levels than omnivores. They presented their results in a poster.
My Food: Sugar Smart
Students in this group assisted with the Sugar Smart Campaign, looking to educate people about the hidden sugars in foods. They surveyed students looking at their shopping habits and factors which influence them to make unhealthy or healthy eating decisions. They created a leaflet (front and back) and a blog called ‘Student Eats’, which included facts, their survey results, and ideas for quick and healthy recipes. They also took part in a public event in PrincessHay, promoting their campaign to the public and involving them in an interactive quiz highlighting the amount of hidden sugar in food. They found that people tended to underestimate the amount of sugar in savoury foods. This is their presentation.
My Food: Don't Stress, Eat Smart
Students in this group looked at the effect of mood on food choices, and created a campaign to educate students on how to become aware of when they are stressed, and how to make more conscious food choices in these situations. They also surveyed students to found out the effect that stress had on their eating habits, and found that both overeating and undereating were consequences of stress. As part of their campaign, they created a poster, a leaflet, a Facebook page, and engaged with members of the public as part of the Sugar Smart Event on 8th June. This is their presentation.
My Food: Vegetarians and Vegans
Students in this group investigated attitudes towards vegetarians and vegans. They looked at both the ‘supply’ and ‘demand’ side by engaging with both retailers and students. They conducted interviews with managers of the three main outlets on campus (Pret, Market Place and Guild Shop) and explored the managers’ opinions about the availability of vegetarian and vegan options in their own outlet. They also surveyed students focusing on the type of diet they ate and the reasons behind it. They produced two academic posters (1 and 2) to illustrate their conclusions, alongside their presentation. Their main finding was that vegetarian and vegan diets are becoming a growing trend.
My Community: St Sidwell's
Students in this group carried out a piece of research for St Sidwell’s Community Centre, a non-profit organisation whose activities include support groups, projects and a café run by volunteers. The research investigated the eating and shopping habits of volunteers and other centre users. The aim was for the data gathered to help provide ideas for the Centre’s future projects that could improve eating habits for some of these people. The students carried out a series of informal interviews with people in the Centre, using a range of open and closed questions. They then analysed their results, and compiled their findings into a report.
My Community: 10 Mile Community Feast
Students in this group worked to raise awareness of the 10 Mile Community Feast, a social event where people come together to eat food produced by locally sourced ingredients. The students created a poster and leaflet examining the positive influence of immigration on our concepts of “local” food and investigating the historical involvement of food in bringing people together. They requested recipes from local cafes and stores that specifically stock local produce, and turned these into recipe cards (1, 2 and 3) that provided ideas of what people could bring to the feast. They distributed their leaflets, poster and recipe cards to the public in order to raise awareness of the event.
My Community: Unicorn App
Students in this group designed an app to help the student community come together and integrate through food, whilst also minimising food waste. Users select at least three ingredients that they have available, and the app then suggests a variety of meals that can be made used the limited ingredients they have. The user then chooses which meals they are interested in making, and is then able to view a list of other users nearby who want to make the same meals. The app then allows the user to start a group chat with any of these people to work out if additional ingredients are needed, and to arrange a time to meet and make the meal. They created a poster to advertise their app, and more detail can be found in their presentation.
My Community: The Real Food Store
Students in this group were impressed by the Real Food Store’s strong values in tackling the challenge of re-connecting food and communities. Having identified that there was a plateau both in sales and impact for social change, they worked closely with the Real Food Store to come up with proposals to attract Exeter students as a new customer group. Market analysis showed an increasingly competitive market niche with more and more producers choosing to forego the ‘middle-man’, retail stores. Another focus point of their work thus became identifying ways that the store could move closer to the consumer to build customer loyalty and maximise the store’s value proposition of accessibility.
My Community: Exeter Food Action
Students in this group carried out research in relation to Exeter Food Action, an organisation that looks to minimise food waste by redistributing excess food from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to community organisations and local charities such as Exeter Foodbank and Exeter Soup Kitchen. The students spoke to variety of food supply stores in Exeter about their food waste, and looked at areas of their practice that they perceived as positive and negative. They made a presentation to summarise their findings, and hope that the information will be of use for charities such as St Petrocks.
My World: Food Waste
Students in this group surveyed 100 people to get an idea of the types of foods that are wasted the most, and the reasons for this. They researched what is currently being done across the world to reduce food waste, and came up with ideas of what can be done to further reduce it in this country, both at a societal and an individual level. Their solutions included promoting the selling of imperfect food items, and encouraging people to donate leftover food to a food bank. They produced a presentation of their work, and also made a video of different people’s opinions on food waste.
My World: Fairtrade
Students in this group investigated the impact of the Fairtrade movement on the global food system. They decided on this topic as they wanted to look at something that influenced global food supply chains and also had a significant impact on the daily buying habits of consumers. After presenting a brief history of the movement, they evaluated the benefits and challenges of Fairtrade certification and researched and presented the effects on an industry with significant involvement with Fairtrade. They specifically looked at the banana trade; over a third of bananas sold in the UK are Fairtrade. They compiled their findings into a poster and a presentation.
My World: GMO
Students in this group looked at whether the legalisation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) post Brexit would be beneficial for the UK and its economy. They chose this topic whilst considering the risk of the fragile state of agriculture following Brexit, and the possible need to increase national crop yields. They researched pros and cons of this controversial area of bioengineering, and surveyed 200 people to assess public perception on whether this should be introduced in the UK. The results depicted clear misconceptions surrounding GMO use, highlighting the importance of public education before implementing new legislation. More detail is in their poster and presentation.
My World: Meat
Students in this group felt that meat production was an unstainable practice due to the emission of greenhouse gases, the amount of water needed for the livestock, and the land required. They carried out research looking into the advantages and disadvantages of reducing or stopping meat production, and complied their findings into a presentation and a poster. They found that cutting meat out had health, environmental, and food distribution benefits, but that there were nutritional, economic and environmental drawbacks of this. They concluded that whilst both sides had valid points, meat production cannot continue as it is, otherwise it is unsustainable in the long term.