Palm oil is the world most used vegetable oil and its use as food ingredient is criticized for creating environmental, socio-economic, and health sustainability challenges. In Europe, the debate on palm oil sustainability has strongly intensified in the latest years involving several agri-food chain actors and stakeholders. The research explores Twitter content of key palm oil agri-food chain actors on palm oil multiple sustainability dimensions, focusing on the European context. First, the study applied a qualitative deductive approach to categorize palm oil sustainability dimensions. Second, among the 463 palm oil agri-food chain companies identified, 198 have an active Twitter account, including world palm oil producers, European bakery and chocolate manufacturers, and European food retailers. One hundred seven accounts tweet on palm oil. Third, a term frequency analysis and an in-depth textual analysis of tweets on palm oil sustainability issues were carried out. Results confirms that all agri-food chain actors communicate about palm oil sustainability, adopting a multi-dimension outlook. Palm oil producers actively use Twitter to promote palm oil sustainability, whereas European manufacturers and retailers limit their activity to react to consumers' questioning. Whereas palm oil producers tend to shape consumers' opinion over the benefits and the opportunities of palm oil use, food manufacturers and retailers adopt a purely informative approach on sustainability certification, avoiding the engagement over sensitive issues. Health is the most mentioned sustainability dimension. The study also confirms differences between agri-food chain actors' marketing communication. Finally, the study confirms that, in the case of sensitive issues, as for palm oil sustainability, Twitter is as able to drive companies' communication.

Twitter communication of agri-food chain actors on palm oil environmental, socio-economic, and health sustainability

Ruggeri, Arianna
;
Samoggia, Antonella
2018

Abstract

Palm oil is the world most used vegetable oil and its use as food ingredient is criticized for creating environmental, socio-economic, and health sustainability challenges. In Europe, the debate on palm oil sustainability has strongly intensified in the latest years involving several agri-food chain actors and stakeholders. The research explores Twitter content of key palm oil agri-food chain actors on palm oil multiple sustainability dimensions, focusing on the European context. First, the study applied a qualitative deductive approach to categorize palm oil sustainability dimensions. Second, among the 463 palm oil agri-food chain companies identified, 198 have an active Twitter account, including world palm oil producers, European bakery and chocolate manufacturers, and European food retailers. One hundred seven accounts tweet on palm oil. Third, a term frequency analysis and an in-depth textual analysis of tweets on palm oil sustainability issues were carried out. Results confirms that all agri-food chain actors communicate about palm oil sustainability, adopting a multi-dimension outlook. Palm oil producers actively use Twitter to promote palm oil sustainability, whereas European manufacturers and retailers limit their activity to react to consumers' questioning. Whereas palm oil producers tend to shape consumers' opinion over the benefits and the opportunities of palm oil use, food manufacturers and retailers adopt a purely informative approach on sustainability certification, avoiding the engagement over sensitive issues. Health is the most mentioned sustainability dimension. The study also confirms differences between agri-food chain actors' marketing communication. Finally, the study confirms that, in the case of sensitive issues, as for palm oil sustainability, Twitter is as able to drive companies' communication.
Ruggeri, Arianna; Samoggia, Antonella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/619100
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