Consumer behaviour and antibiotic resistance

2 April 2023

Anna-Carin Nordvall, senior lecturer at the Department of Business Administratio

"I want to try to get consumers excited so that they have the courage to learn and rethink their food purchases," says Anna-Carin Nordvall, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Business Administration

How do consumers take decisions in our society when sustainability and current problems such as antibiotic resistance are important issues for our future survival? This is what Anna-Carin Nordvall will talk about at this year's Göran Gustafsson Symposium.

Anna-Carin Nordvall, senior lecturer at the Department of Business Administration, does research on how individuals, with a focus on consumers, make their purchasing decisions. The focus has been to see what information consumers base their purchase decisions on and how consumers can become more aware and knowledgeable to make more careful considerations in their purchase decisions. 

Anna-Carin Nordvall
Anna-Carin Nordvall, senior lecturer at the Depart-
ment of Business Administration. Photo: Cecilia Yates

“My interest also lies in the obstacles that consumers feel when it comes to absorbing information and making good purchasing decisions,” says Anna-Carin Nordvall. “It can be very difficult and challenging for the consumer. There is a kind of paradox in consumers' buying behaviour - consumers want to make good buying decisions, behave in an antibiotic-smart or sustainable way, while at the same time their behaviour is driven by habitual behaviour.”

At the Göran Gustafsson symposium, Anna-Carin Nordvall will talk about the challenges consumers face in the grocery store when shopping for food. Many people choose non-antibiotic-friendly products because they don't know what is good or bad.

“The intention of the consumer is usually good,” says Anna-Carin Nordvall, “but how can we help consumers become more empowered in their choice to buy food? I will also address the non-representativeness of consumers in the antibiotic resistance debate.”

Conflicting information on antibiotic use

In Sweden, there are clear guidelines and information on antibiotics and antibiotic use, such as for meat production and doctors' prescriptions.

“In the consumer context, this information and guidelines are often unclear, and it is up to the consumer to decide what is a good or bad purchase decision,” explains Anna-Carin Nordvall. “At the same time, it can also be difficult for consumers to navigate through the jungle of recommendations and information that is often ambiguous and contradictory.”

“As a little thought exercise before my talk at the symposium, imagine you are buying food. To what extent do you think about how the food has been produced and what better alternatives are available for different products?”

Shared responsibility against antibiotic resistance

In the future, it is hoped that all stakeholders, politicians, food producers and consumers, will take joint responsibility for curbing the development of antibiotic resistance.

"I want to try to inspire people in their role as consumers so that they dare to learn and rethink their food purchases," concludes Anna-Carin Nordvall.

The Göran Gustafsson-Symposium

The 2023 lecture is part of a larger symposium in collaboration with Uppsala University’s Uppsala Antibiotic Center, UAC. Göran Gustafsson lecturer and keynote lecturer is Gerry Wright, Executive Director for Canada’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats and Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada.

Time: Thursday 13 April, 13:00–17:00.
Place: University Main Building, Lecture Hall IX.
Other: The symposium is in English.

Last modified: 2021-02-04