Farmscape for December 22, 2017
An Agricultural Economist with the University of Alberta suggests the source from which consumers access news and information appears to be influencing the formation of their attitudes toward food.
The use of social media is increasingly influencing attitudes toward food and public policy related to food production.
Dr. Ellen Goddard, the Cooperative Chair of Agricultural Marketing and Business with the University of Alberta, says she tracks media coverage by indicator newspapers and often there's a direct correlation between what's covered in the mainstream news and discussion about it on social media, so they're not completely distinct.
Clip-Dr. Ellen Goddard-University of Alberta:
The difference that happens on social media is you can have all these people flinging in different options and some opinions tend to dominate.
It could be from the amount of coverage that those people get or followers that those people have or how they replicate their conversation about it.
The mainstream media may have largely one point of view and on social media you may get conflicting points of view and people will be looking for what ever comes through their feed as the ultimate response.
The two things are not separate but the message can get confused and the emphasis can be very different.
I think they're both having an influence.
The younger people who are never off their phones or off social media seem to be using social media as a source of news coverage and not using the mainstream media in the same way, although there's still a link.
I'm curious that some of the attitude formation is different depending on how much you use social media versus mainstream.
Dr. Goddard says it's intriguing that there's these different influences affecting what we want to eat.
She says there's some fascinating ways of tracking coverage and she's investigating that right now.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork