Completed Projects

View our past research projects on a range of issues to do with science and values in food production and consumption.


  • Media messages about sustainable seafood: How do media influences affect consumer attitudes?

    This research project investigated media messages about sustainable seafood - which messages receive greatest share of media ‘voice’, how consumers respond to them, and how those involved in producing and circulating them understand and communicate key issues. The research was focused on messages about Australian produced seafood and the Australian domestic seafood industry, and sought to understand which messages are most successful and which have the greatest impact on consumer perceptions about the sustainability of Australian seafood. This project was conducted by Dr Michelle Phillipov and Dr Emily Buddle from the Food Values Research Group, in collaboration with Dr Anna Farmery (University of Wollongong) and Associate Professor Fred Gale (University of Tasmania) and was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (project number 2017-131).

  • Getting to the Meat of the Matter: Social and Economic Issues in Animal Welfare in Australia's Livestock Industry

    Animal welfare in Australia’s livestock industries is an issue of increasing concern to both Australian consumers and meat and livestock producers. This project provided an understanding of both the social and economic impacts of consumer views on animal welfare and helped to foster more productive dialogue between consumers and producers. This project was funded through the Australian Research Council's Linkage Projects scheme.

  • Consumer perceptions, sensory appeal and nutritional value of edible insects: realising the potential of an emerging agricultural industry

    This project, which was led by A/Prof Kerry Wilkinson from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, investigated consumers’ perceptions and attitudes towards a range of edible insects (for example crickets, mealworms, ants and cockroaches) and products containing insect-based ingredients (for example high protein flours and powders), along with their sensory properties and nutritional profiles. This project was funded by the University of Adelaide.

  • Making Plants Better, Making Australia Better? A History of Genetic Modification Science, Policy, and Community Attitudes in Australia

    An historical analysis of scientific developments, policymaking, and community attitudes about genetic modification over the last 40 years in Australia showed what Australia's role has been in this field, and how we as a society engage with scientific ideas, which is critical for future community involvement in science policymaking. This project was funded through the Australian Research Council's Discovery Project Scheme.

  • "... served with a sprinkling of science": what would you put on your plate?

    New foods are coming onto the market all the time thanks to science: super foods, functional foods, modified foods, ancient foods newly revived. But what makes some of these foods more acceptable than others? In 2014 our research group hosted a National Science Week with the support of the South Australian National Science Week Committee. Scientists and food entrepreneurs presented on some of the new food products in development and the audience had the opportunity to evaluate each of the foods from a range of perspectives and vote on the ones that they would put on their plate.

  • Leading or lagging behind? How is the Moratorium on GM food crops framed by the media in rural and urban South Australia?

    The media has an important role in framing discussion around social issues and one issue known to be contested within Australian communities is the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops. The aim of this preliminary study was to explore how agricultural issues are framed in rural and urban media, using the SA moratorium on GM food crops as an example of an agricultural issue. This project was supported by the then Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (now Arts) Faculty Research Active Grant Scheme.

  • Not appropriate dinner conversation? Talking to children about meat production.

    In this pilot study we explored Australian family attitudes to meat eating and the use of animals for food production to examine how attitudes to animal welfare and animal rights are shaped socially and culturally. This project was supported by the then Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (now Arts) Faculty Research Active Grant Scheme.

  • Understanding public and industry views of the use of new technologies in wine

    This project aimed to understand the views of the general public and those working within the wine industry on the use of new technologies in wine making in Australia. With increased global competition, shifts in consumer demands and expectations especially regarding wine quality, and concerns about the need for more environmentally-friendly production practices, some in the industry support consideration of these technologies. This project was supported by Wine 2030 (now Wine Future).

  • Understanding women's attitudes to genetically modified foods

    This project aimed to investigate the diversity of Australian women's attitudes to GM foods and explore the relationship between these attitudes and their values and roles. This project was supported by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research's New Enabling Technology Strategy and the South Australian Government Department of Further Education, Employment, Science and Technology.

  • What shall we have for tea? Toward a new discourse of food ethics in contemporary Australia

    We are increasingly encouraged to make ‘ethical' food choices but lack information about these issues: this project explored Australians' understandings of food ethics. This project used interdisciplinary methods to investigate Australians' understandings of food ethics, develop a framework for fostering dialogue about food ethics reflecting contemporary Australian values, and establish recommendations about how to foster more thoughtful and effective public participation in food policy. This project was significant because we lacked a common language for thoughtful discussion of these issues, and needed more examination of the conceptual and historical background of our values associated with food. The outcomes of the project include publications aimed at scholarly and general audiences as well as a series of recommendations for fostering public participation in food policy-making. This project was supported by the Australian Research Council.

  • Understanding community trust in the Australian primary industries

    Working with AgriFutures on behalf of nine of the Rural Research and Development Corporations (RDCs), we conducted a scoping study in 2018 to develop a work plan for future work which explores community trust in the Australian primary industries including food, fibre and forestry. The scoping study included the capture of scholarly and ‘grey’ literatures to understand what trust is and what influences and changes trust, particularly within food and fibre production. From this literature analysis, we worked with AgriFutures to put together a 5-year work plan for future research funded by the RDC’s. This scoping study was conducted by Dr Heather Bray, Dr Michelle Phillipov, Dr Emily Buddle and Professor Rachel Ankeny of the Food Values Research Group.

  • Understanding metropolitan attitudes to and knowledge of the South Australian grains industry

    We are interested in what people know and think about how grains are farmed in South Australia. The goal of the project was to improve communication between grains farmers and the general (metropolitan) public. This project was conducted by Dr Heather Bray and Professor Rachel Ankeny of the Food Values Research Group in the Department of History at the University of Adelaide. The research was funded by Grain Producers SA.

  • People and new/emerging technologies in agriculture

    The expert working group from Australian Centre of Learned Academies’ (ACOLA) “Future of Agricultural Technology” project asked for a preliminary work packaged to be conducted which explored the intersections between people and new/emerging technologies in agriculture. This review encompassed the history, sociocultural networks and attitudes, and the engagement, consultation and communication relating to agricultural technologies. Dr Emily Buddle and Ms Rebecca Paxton, under the guidance of Professor Rachel Ankeny, from the Food Values Research Group completed the preliminary work program and produced a report to inform the expert working group to ensure that the project scope and proposed way forward for the “Future of Agricultural Technology” project were defined in an interdisciplinary manner.