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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Social marketing: The missing element in the battle against overweight and obesity

Published: May 28, 2019


Audur Hermannsdottir, University of Iceland; Arnar Buason, University of Iceland


Social marketing; behavioural change; food consumption


The rapid increase in overweight and obesity in modern societies is alarming. In spite of various actions undertaken by health authorities the escalation seems to continue. In the paper we argue for the importance of applying social marketing in this battle. Furthermore, we suggest that social marketing strategies should involve a specifically defined behaviour change and that the focus should be on a particular product category. By focusing on a specific product category we can be more precise in analyzing and evaluating preferences and behaviour of a well-defined target group. Based on preferences we can further segment the group in order to better tailor the communication message and thereby increase the likelihood of being successful in influencing the intended behavioural change. We demonstrated our proposition using an example of European fish consumers that consume insufficient amount of fish.


This study is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 635761 – PrimeFish.