Drivers and Effects of Food Choices

The sub-project "Drivers and Effects of Food Choices" deals with the possible consequences of the two extreme scenarios "No Land" and "No Trade" for consumers, institutions and our society as a whole. The change in our current food system implied by both scenarios will lead to drastic changes in the price, quality, variety and availability of food and requires both an adjustment of individual preferences and the institutions of the food system. We are also investigating how the overlap of both scenarios "No Land" and "No Trade" and the simultaneous radical change in the production and supply of food itself can become a driver of social transformation and, under certain circumstances, a threat to social cohesion.

Nutritional decisions depend on many factors - especially in extreme situations they can change drastically. (Photo: eonamic)

The first goal is to identify which individual factors determine how humans adapt their food preferences under rapidly changing societal and ecological conditions. For instance, what is the role of one’s biography, education, cultural understanding of food, group identity, personality traits, or social position? Particular attention is paid to potential differences in the decision-making behavior of consumers, experts and politicians, affecting how the challenges of the food system are dealt with at the political level. In addition, we look at the consequences of extreme upheavals in the food system on society, i.e. to what extent divergent food preferences shape social group identities and thus lead to group conflicts. Does it make a difference whether a diet was chosen voluntarily or imposed by exogenous circumstances? And what measures can be taken to counteract this trend? The measures at the institutional level are of particular interest in order to sustain social cohesion.

These questions are investigated using behavioral economic lab experiments. Behavioral economics is a relatively young discipline within economics that examines how people make economic decisions, whether they act more intuitively or rationally, and what impact their decisions have on themselves and others. Findings from psychology and other social sciences are explicitly taken into account.

Text: H. Freudenreich, T. Brück (both IGZ)

Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ)
Theodor-Echtermeyer-Weg 1
14979 Großbeeren


Project duration 
March 2019 - February 2024

Interaction with f4f and associated partners

Portrait of Prof. Tilman Brück. You can see his head up to his shoulders. He has short dark hair and smiles at the camera. He wears glasses and a suit jacket with a tie.

Prof. Dr. Tilman Brück

PI | Leader Research Field IV
T +49 (0) 33701 78-124

Prof. Dr. Tilman Brück is head of the research group “Economic Development and Food Security” at the Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops in Großbeeren near Berlin. He is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and co-founder, co-director of the Households in Conflict Network ( and coordinator of the Home Gardens for Resilience and Recovery (HG4RR) Network. His research focuses on the behaviour, food security and the welfare of poor and vulnerable households in conflict-affected, fragile and humanitarian emergency settings. Tilman Brück obtained a doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford.

Portrait photo Mekdim Regassa

Mekdim D. Regassa


Mekdim D. Regassa is a doctoral researcher in the program area “Plan Quality and Food Security” at Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ). His research interests include econometric methods for policy evaluation, food choices, and household welfare dynamics. In the context of food4future, he studies how consumers react to extreme and rapidly changing institutions and environments.

Portrait Dr. Hanna Freudenreich

Dr. Hanna Freudenreich

Former Staff Member


Stojetz W., Ferguson N.T.N., Baliki G., Díaz O.,Elfes J., Esenaliev D., Freudenreich H., Koebach A., Abreu L., Peitz L., Todua A., Schreiner M., Hoeffler A., Justino P., Brück T. (2022). The Life with Corona survey (Social Science & Medicine

Freudenreich H., Demmler K. M., Fongar A., Jäckering L. (2020). Effective interventions to increase food and nutrition security in response to Covid-19. Policy Brief: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and German Institute for Development Evaluation.
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Abreu, L., Koebach, A., Díaz, O., Carleial, S., Hoeffler, A., Stojetz, W., Freudenreich, H., Justino, P. and Brück, T. (2021). Life With Corona: Increased Gender  Differences in Aggression and Depression Symptoms Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Burden in Germany. Front. Psychol. 12:689396.

Freudenreich H., Aladysheva A., Brück T. (2022) Weather shocks across seasons and child health: Evidence from a panel study in the Kyrgyz Republic. World Development Vol. 55.