More Projects


Title: Spin or fair speak: When food products start talking

Period: 2007-2013.

Funding: Programme Committee for Food and Health under the Danish Council for Strategic Research (7,999,715, 00 DKK).

Brief description: Based on an in-depth review of 821 cases assessed by the Danish food authorities, the project set up a typology of recurrent conflict scenarios found on the Danish food market in relation to the labelling and packaging of commercial food products. The scenarios identified were subject to an integrated cross-disciplinary analysis drawing on concepts and insights from the areas of language & cognition, psycholinguistics, visual perception, knowledge management, consumer sociology, consumer behaviour, and marketing law. On this background, a series of experiments were designed and conducted to assess the potential misleadingness of concrete packaging design solutions and single out non-misleading alternatives. The ultimate goal was to contribute new insights to the formation of a common frame of reference for authorities, companies, and consumers for assessing whether and how the presentation of a food product is likely to mislead consumers – while also supporting the Danish food industry in developing new healthy and tasty products presented in a fair way to all consumers.

Participating research institutions:

The FairSpeak Group, Copenhagen Business School (CBS).

The Food Sociology Group, KU LIFE, University of Copenhagen.

The Sensory Group, DTU Food, Technical University of Denmark.

The Humanities Lab, Lund University Cognitive Science.

Participating NGOs and companies:

Danish Consumer Council

Danish Active Consumers

Arla Foods

Lantmännen Schulstad

Toms Group


FairSpeak SMV-Project

Title: Honest communication through innovative packaging design for novel food products.

Period: 2008-2010.

Funding: Programme Committee for Food and Health under the Danish Council for Strategic Research (497,709.00 DKK).

Brief description: The project focused on the processes behind the creation of the full communicative potential of food packages in the context of launching novel food products, with a special view to the emergence of risks of potential miscommunication in the marketing of such products. A combination of methods (interviews, diaries, discourse analysis) were applied for uncovering the interactive mechanisms unfolding in the planning and execution of marketing efforts involving packaging design, with a special focus on the workflow between manufacturer and advertising or design agency, and the language in which different actors verbalize and discuss their ideas for product names, claims and overall packaging design.


The FairSpeak Group, Copenhagen Business School (CBS)

Envision Design

Jens Møller Products

Krogh & Co

Nørgård Mikkelsen Advertising

Slice Fruit

Rynkeby Foods


Title: A study of the role of decoding and visual attention hierarchies in consumers’ understanding of verbal and nonverbal design elements on food labels in the purchasing situation.

Period: 2008-2009.

Grant: The Independent Research Fund Denmark: Communication and Culture (169,000 DKK).

Brief description: The project was part of and complemented the wider research efforts of the project “Spin or fair speak: When foods talk”. The aim was to contribute to a better theoretical and empirical understanding of relationships between consumers’ distribution of their visual attention on the verbal and nonverbal design elements of food packages in a purchasing situation (the visual attention hierarchy) and the impact of the resultant search patterns on their expectations and choices (the semantic decoding hierarchy). The grant contributed to the purchase of a state-of-the-art stationary eye-tracking device for conducting tests in simulated purchase situations in support of the above goals.


The FairSpeak Group, Copenhagen Business School (CBS).

Part of the tests were carried out in collaboration with the Centre for Cognitive Semiotics (CCS) and the Humanities Lab, Lund University.

FairSpeak Dissemination

Title: Dissemination of new research on fair communication through food packaging design (FairSpeak dissemination).

Grant: The Danish Games Fond administrated by the Ministry of Education and Research (199,010.00 DKK).

Brief description: The project's objective was to support the wider societal dissemination of research results achieved in the project "Spin or fair speak: When foods talk” and related projects by addressing a broad target group including food producers, retailers, consumer organizations, authorities, media, and the general public. The work included, inter alia, the preparation of a handbook with 88 research-based fairness principles addressed to companies and designers, a "Pixi book” with 11 key fairness dogmas addressing a wider audience, a FairSpeak Conference with the participation of companies, authorities, researchers, and media, an information campaign organised in cooperation with the Danish Consumer Council, and broad exposure in printed and electronic media.


The FairSpeak Group, Copenhagen Business School (CBS).

Parts of the dissemination were carried out in cooperation with the Danish Consumer Council, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, and Coop Denmark.

Other/Current initiatives

In parallel with the externally funded projects, the FairSpeak Group has carried out a number of minor projects, consumer tests, and dissemination activities in collaboration with, inter alia, the Danish Consumer Council, Coop Consumer Insights, DR-TV, and a group of SME organic food producers. The group members have furthermore presented a substantial number of papers at scientific conferences and organized and participated in practice-oriented seminars and workshops at e.g. the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Chamber of Commerce, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, and Varefakta.

At present, a major project application is in preparation aimed at developing new multimodal communicative tools for supporting a more efficient communication of the taste and eating experiences offered by novel and existing (but neglected) Danish food products, with a particular focus on fish and seafood. The effort includes user-driven development of a richer and more popular language for verbalizing and sharing new taste and eating experiences, as well as the development and testing of new multimodal communication solutions for the presentation of selected foods via packaging design and online. The impact on consumer preferences and choice will first be tested in laboratory condition and subsequently in selected supermarkets and webstores.