Food Business and Development - Masters by Research Theses

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    Opportunities for the development of marine ingredients for functional food markets
    (University College Cork, 2021-10) Patterson, Simon; Bogue, Joseph; Repar, Lana; Fagan, John; Bord Iascaigh Mhara
    While the seafood sector annually contributes €1.09 Billion to the Irish economy, an estimated 70% of the seafood sector's export value is attributed to bulk commodities. With critical quotas diminishing and a dependence on a high volume, low-value business models that may no longer be sustainable, this research explored the opportunities to reduce commodity trading of seafood, develop value-added opportunities, and discover functional ingredients opportunities for utilising the considerable biomass of Irish marine material available in Ireland. This research employed a mixed methodology of 26 in-depth expert interviews that aimed to understand how the Irish seafood industry can add value through a functional marine ingredients strategy and 401 consumer surveys that aimed to uncover consumers' perspectives of marine-based functional foods. Results from in-depth interviews indicate that the Irish seafood sector is disjointed and underdeveloped; however, the raw material to produce functional marine ingredients can be found in the Atlantic mackerel species and guides towards development can be found in the Irish dairy industry and international seafood leaders. Consumer-oriented product development was seen as a key finding from these guides. Results of the consumer survey show that functional marine ingredient products that are savoury tasting, in a food format, are available for purchase in a supermarket setting, targeting health needs, such as brain and heart health and are positioned to be consumed around the evening meal, would be most successful on the market. This research provides valuable new insights focused on developing the Irish seafood industry through a functional ingredient strategy and consumer attitudes towards emerging functional marine ingredient products, providing practical implications for the seafood industry and aiding food marketers in understanding consumer behaviour.
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    Analysis of barriers and drivers towards sustainable consumption behaviour from an Irish consumer perspective
    (University College Cork, 2020-09-09) Colgan, Jodie; Onakuse, Stephen; Bogue, Joseph; Fadiran, Gideon; Environmental Protection Agency
    To transition to a sustainable consumption environment, Ireland has articulated a variety of National framework plans and policies, yet several sustainability related indicators, such as resource efficiency, sustainable development goals twelve (SDG12) score and waste per capita positions Ireland at a low performance in comparison to other European Union countries. Identifying some of the drivers and barriers to sustainable consumption behaviour contributes to policy suggestions and target areas to stimulate the transition to a sustainable environment. This thesis analysed data from a survey of 318 Irish consumers to establish the presence of drivers and barriers to sustainable consumption behaviour. It applied three methodology steps accordingly, (i) Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to establish and extract sustainable consumption variables and constructs, (ii) Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to validate and analyse established sustainable consumption variables and constructs, (iii) Ordinal regression to link drivers of sustainable consumer behaviour and socio- economic characteristics. Four constructs were extracted representing the drivers of sustainable consumption behaviour as: sustainable food purchasing, shopping planning behaviour, food waste behaviour, environmental awareness while one barrier was identified, purchasing influencers. The study finds shopping planning behaviour positively drives a decrease in food waste behaviour. Furthermore, men were identified as less likely to consume food sustainably, projecting the group as a target to stimulate the sustainability transition. Women were more sustainable food consumers as they were more likely to write a shopping list before shopping and were less likely to waste food after a meal, indicating consideration for a gender dimension when planning policy interventions to reduce food waste. People in rented accommodation, either shared or privately rented, were identified as another cluster that can be targeted in the transition towards stimulating sustainable consumption behaviour.
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    Women’s economic empowerment in agricultural production: a case study of Gergera watershed project
    (University College Cork, 2019-10-04) Cullen, Solange; Chisholm, Nicholas G.; Thornhill, Stephen
    Women’s empowerment, agriculture and food and nutrition security are all crucial elements of development agendas. These issues are intricately linked and possess potential to progress poverty reduction, hunger and economic growth. The aim of this study was to explore issues of women’s economic empowerment in agriculture and how these constraints link to food and nutrition security in Gergera Watershed, Tigray, Ethiopia. The research was carried out in association with ICRAF and UCC’s Action Research Programme ‘Developing an Innovation and Learning Platform for Enhanced Economic Opportunities and Resilience in Gergera Watershed. The study presents empirical data on empowerment levels and food and nutrition indicators. It also provides the perspectives of women and men, on the change of women’s roles within the community, and attitudes towards enhancing women’s economic empowerment through increasing market-orientated agriculture. The main findings of the study show that women have an empowerment status of ‘medium’ in the area, it indicated a higher number of women in male headed households were empowered. Workload is the main burden to all respondents. The food and nutrition status of households correlated with empowerment and wealth groups scores. The poorest and most disempowered having the worst diet and food consumption. The findings show extreme willingness to invest in market led agriculture, if it is collective farming and marketing. There was a feeling that women are prepared to empower themselves and each other to benefit from improved livelihood outcomes.
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    A study of consumers' attitudes towards food products containing protein derived from beef offal
    (University College Cork, 2020-04-15) Lavranou, Georgia; Mccarthy, Mary; O'Reilly, Seamus; Henchion, Maeve; Teagasc
    A considerable body of research work has identified that beef fifth quarter contains high amounts of protein which can be extracted, leading to the opportunities for the development of new applications in the food industry. However, many parts of beef fifth quarter are currently underutilised for this purpose due to current practices within the beef sector. Besides the significant research investment within the area of beef fifth quarter protein valorisation, a challenge may lie in consumers' evaluations of food products containing protein extracted from beef fifth quarter. A nationally representative survey (n=953) was undertaken to investigate Irish consumers' attitudes towards hypothetical food products containing protein derived from beef offal sources. Based on an experimental design from the outset, this study explored what attitude processes (intuitive and/or deliberate) dominate attitude formation towards food products containing protein derived from beef offal and if resulting attitudes are influenced by affect and/or cognition. Moreover, the moderation effects of product familiarity and ambivalence on attitude formation were examined. Data analysis revealed that affective inferences played a more significant role in consumers' expressed attitudes. However, consumers were also found to draw on cognitive reasoning to form their attitudes. Deliberate evaluation was found to be a better predictor of consumers' attitudes than intuitive evaluation. Information provision about beef offal extracted protein, and product familiarity, were found to be critical factors in consumers' attitude formation processes and attitude outcome (i.e. affective and/or cognitive) towards food products containing protein derived from beef offal sources.