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Last weekend I participated at the 11th Annual Future of Food and Nutrition Graduate Student Research Conference, hosted by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy of Tufts University.

At the event, which was held at the Jaharis Family Center in Boston, I could listen to two interesting keynote speakers. First, Britt Lundgren, Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture at Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt company based in Londonderry, NH. She has over a decade of experience working to advance agricultural sustainability through policy and supply chain initiatives. Second, Doug Rauch, Founder and President of Daily Table which is a not-for-profit retail store. It opened its first store in 2015 in Dorchester, a diverse residential community in Boston and till today it offers to the community a variety of tasty, convenient and affordable foods. 

Besides this, I also had the opportunity to meet and start conversations with many future leaders in the field gather to engage in discussion about timely topics in food and nutrition.

Among the many presentations I listen to, I would like to highlight the one from my friend and colleague Anne Byrne from Cornell University. She also won the award as "best oral presentation" for her talk on “Modeling Demand for Food Pantry Services”. She explained her study on Food Pantries which are Food charitable food programme where people can get food for free. In particular, she focuses on the travel cost model and its role in the Food pantry demand in a county in Colorado (Food Bank for Larimer County). The aim is to explore more travel costs which are too higher for citizens to incentive them to get to the place.

Another colleague of mine, Anjali Narang, presented an interesting poster about “informational and behavioral strategies to promote healthy school entrées”, a case study in Ithaca elementary schools. The aim is to evaluate low-cost and easily implementable tools based on marketing and behavioral economics principle to foster healthy eating habits at school. 

I presented the results of a study which investigate consumer demand and choice behaviour for fresh fish at the retail market, using a labelled choice experiment (LCE) and elicit consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the salient attributes of a variety of fresh fish species in the European fishery and aquaculture sector. Especially, I focused on the consumer's value and trust health and nutritional claims. We found out that the interest for such claims varied among species (higher for salmon, seabream) and countries (higher in Italy, Spain, and Germany). Moreover, the willingness to pay for nutritional/health claim could increase if the credibility of these labels increased.