Centre for Advanced Study

at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

The Ecology of Food Perception


Our goal is to organize and stimulate broad stakeholder participation in discussions of sustainable next generation approaches to human food ecology. Stakeholders are consumers, food industry, policy-makers, health-care providers, educators, and more, while food ecology is a concept that connects eating behavior in humans and animals to biology and environment. In the world today, consumer behavior and health are topics of immense public awareness and media interest, but despite that, food-related health problems continue to rise. The situation has proven difficult to control via public information about healthy consumer behavior and limits the continuation of ‘business as usual’ with respect to how consumers deal with their food environment. Food environmental factors influence peoples’ food choice and consumption, and can be identified, tested and controlled during production and marketing to affect consumer behavior. This controllability, for example of food product selection, branding, placement and price, creates incentives for the food industry as well as for policy makers that aim to balance economic progress with the interests of public health. We believe the public’s awareness about foods creates win-win opportunities: Innovative product development, labeling and retailer strategies leading to responsible consumer behavior paralleled by food industrial profits. We call such win-win scenarios sustainable next generation approaches to human food ecology, and invite all interested parties, the general public, private enterprises, government, legislature and the media, to join us in debate.

End Report

The project was originally described as a 5 theme-based project. These themes were assigned new working titles during the operative project period to maximize the synergy and output from the visiting fellows. The original ideas of the project proposal remained intact and alive during our stay at CAS. The results achieved were accordingly in agreement with this.

Topic 1, Social effects in early life: We collected data that will describe Norwegian parent’s nutritional knowledge and how they use it to influence children’s eating habits and behaviour. The resulting data suggest that parents’ knowledge and behaviour may not adjust to the rapidly changing food environment.

Topic 2, Food, gut, and health: Efficiently assessing healthiness of specific complex foods over life span is very demanding but nevertheless, important. The area is utterly challenged by rapid changes, mostly unnoticed, in the composition of food. We debated this and published two papers with meat as an example.

Topic 3, Food information and communication: Communication of healthiness and food related sustainability toward consumers was focussed. Should we use schools and school meals to communicate healthy eating, food production and food waste to support sustainability? Is this efficient and will it provide a lasting effect? The coming paper will present what we know and future perspectives.

Topic 4, Animal models and food ecology: We discussed the end-points obesity and ageing. Both combined, is an emerging societal issue as people both become older and more obese than before in the period before transforming into a sarcopenian state.  We discussed animal models to understand prevention and treatment better for this emerging population group.

Topic 5, Evolution of healthy eating: The evolution of food availability, food-sharing behaviour, advantages of adapting to specific foods (e.g. lactose tolerance) and more was discussed. We developed an idea for how this could be developed into a framework for a paper with relevance for the Norwegian society.

The stay was fantastic in terms of the interesting topics that we discussed and developed. The year was to start with an integration of many disciplines. To achieve such integration, the opportunities provided within the walls of CAS are unique and efficient. Our structure for the year was demanding and on the edge of being exhausting, but the stay at CAS has greatly improved our network globally and in Europe. It has led to the identification of important and updated research areas that we will pursue partly in collaboration with some of our visitors. Our improved network is likely to help us win future grants.

Following the academic year at CAS, we made short and long-term commitments both as a core group and together with several of the fellows that stayed with us at CAS. Primarily, we have made commitments to finish the papers that are in progress from the periods. Secondly, we have made commitments regarding finishing research projects that we started during the different periods. Some research activities (identification of healthier foods, communication to consumers, EU projects) dealt with in topic period 2, 3 and 4 are funded until the end of 2016.


  • Alfnes, Frode
    Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Almli, Valérie Lengard
    Research Fellow Nofima 2013/2014
  • Amdam, Gro V.
    Associate Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences/Arizona State University 2013/2014
  • Aoki, Kenichi
    Professor University of Tokyo 2013/2014
  • Aschemann-Witzel, Jessica
    Associate Professor Aarhus University 2013/2014
  • Beresford, Melissa
    Ph. D. Candidate Arizona State University 2013/2014
  • Chen, Duan
    Professor Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 2013/2014
  • Diep, Dzung Bao
    Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Gray, Lindsey
    - University of Sydney 2013/2014
  • Haug, Anna
    Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Kulseng, Bård
    Associate Professor Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 2013/2014
  • Lee, Ronald Demos
    Professor University of California, Berkeley 2013/2014
  • Martin, Jr., Roy Joseph
    Adjunct Professor University of California, Davis 2013/2014
  • Matthews, Lindsay Ross
    Dr. Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e Molise “Giuseppe Caporale” (IZSAM) 2013/2014
  • Münch, Daniel
    Dr. Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Oostindjer, Marie
    Dr. Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Pachucki, Mark Carroll
    Senior Researcher Massachusetts General Hospital 2013/2014
  • Paulsen, Jan Erik
    Professor Norwegian School of Veterinary Science 2013/2014
  • Rozin, Paul
    Professor University of Pennsylvania 2013/2014
  • Rudi, Knut
    Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Schjøll, Alexander
    Ph. D. Candidate National Institute for Conusmer Research (SIFO) 2013/2014
  • Skuland, Silje Elisabeth
    Research Fellow National Institute for Conusmer Research (SIFO) 2013/2014
  • Slade, Alexandra Avril Brewis
    Professor Arizona State University 2013/2014
  • Sokolowski, Marla B.
    Professor University of Toronto 2013/2014
  • Sødring, Marianne Sundt
    Ph. D. Candidate Norwegian School of Veterinary Science 2013/2014
  • Tuljapurkar, Shripad
    Professor Stanford University 2013/2014
  • Van Kleef, Ellen
    Dr. Wageningen University 2013/2014
  • Wang, Qing
    Ph. D. Candidate Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014
  • Wiley, Andrea Susan
    Professor Indiana University 2013/2014
  • Wold, Anne-Berit
    Associate Professor Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) 2013/2014

Previous events


Group leader

  • Bjørg T. Egelandsdal

    Title Professor Institution Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) Year at CAS 2013/2014