Interactive communication with the public: qualitative exploration of the use of social media by food and health organizations

This study sought to examine the use and impact of social media on 2-way communication between consumers and public organizations in the food safety and nutrition area. Five main themes were identified: gradual shift toward social media-based queries and complaints; challenges and limitations of social media to deal with queries and complaints; advantages of using social media in query and complaint services; content redesign driven by social media use; and using social media to gain knowledge about consumers.

Social media penetrated and brought new opportunities to food organizations’ interactions with the public. Given the increasing use of social media by the public, food organizations need to explore such new opportunities for communication and research.