Around the same table: Uniting stakeholders of food-related communication

Kathleen Van Royen, Sara Pabian, Karolien Poels, Charlotte J. S. De Backer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


There is an abundance of messages on food and health communicated nowadays by diverse stakeholders, including nutrition and health experts, food industries, celebrity chefs, and food influencers, among others. If each of these stakeholders has different interests and uses other communication strategies, confusion and polarization about food and nutrition is likely to arise. Especially when these messages not only represent facts, but many are emotionally loaded, focusing on “beliefs”. Yet even when stakeholders contradict each other in their communication about food related to health, they influence each other. This conceptual paper aims to identify and position the different stakeholders participating in discourse about food and health. Taking a stakeholder marketing perspective in which understanding the whole requires a holistic view, we position the stakeholders as interrelated networks and discuss how their communication strategies influence each other. Stakeholder multiplicity in food communication is often looked at from a negative perspective in terms of conflicting and polarizing voices, however we suggest that this may also take the form of positive, complimentary, and cooperative partnerships. We argue for stakeholders to build complementarities and embrace each one's unique expertise in order to foster objective messages about food and health. Communication about food and health would be ideally shaped by using the guidelines of nutrition experts, the preparation techniques of (celebrity) chefs, and the successful communication strategies of knowledgeable food influencers. Where many individual players nowadays aim to fulfill all of these expert roles, we urge for more cooperation among different stakeholders’ unique expertise, without entirely having to forego each individual interest. Strengthening cooperation and improving communication requires an approach that brings the diverse stakeholders in a meaningful way together around the same table.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105998
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • DIET
  • Food discourse
  • Polarization
  • RISK
  • Stakeholder marketing theory
  • Stakeholders


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