Where’s the Food in the Food Label? Do You Know What’s In Your Food?

We hope to educate consumers and food providers about food labels. Education for food labels improves food literacy and helps consumers to make healthy food choices. To bring awareness to this issue, we propose to host an event that promotes consumer input and understanding of food labels and helps to facilitate a healthy dialogue between consumers and restaurants.

Specifically, we propose to host an educational session on food labels at a local restaurant featuring Manitoba-grown food. At the event, consumers will be provided with hands-on learning about how to read food labels and make healthy choices when shopping for food. While dining, they will also discuss and provide feedback on what they would like to see on food labels to assist them with making healthier food choices.

The restaurant will provide meals highlighting Manitoba food; we will also have food labels made up for the meals offered that evening. Video and documented feedback will be taken from both the consumer and restaurant perspective.  The event will be planned for approximately 20 to 25 participants to keep the project manageable and allow for in-depth feedback. Consent will be obtained with documented comments and video feedback.

Afterwards, participants will be sent home with materials and information. Two to three months later the same guests will be invited back for a second dinner at the same restaurant to discuss the impact of the first dinner on their shopping and dining-out experiences.

It is our hope to create media and consumer interest around the event to highlight the importance of improving food labels and increasing Manitoba food options. We are asking for funding to support the project to keep it accessible to diverse economic groups. Also funding allows us to secure a restaurant and set up the event for promotion which would be otherwise unfeasible.

To encourage participation and commitment to both events, we may charge a nominal fee ($5 to $10). The proceeds from the nominal fee would go to Winnipeg Harvest. As a charity event and one that is accessible to diverse economic groups, we plan to generate excitement and interest in the project.

At the end of project we plan to explore avenues for sharing data and finding future funding to replicate the events in rural and northern settings.  This is an important piece to food justice because as consumers learn more about the food they are eating, where it comes from and how to make healthy choices, the whole food system changes to a more locally, sustainably supported system in all parts of the province.

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