Head of Department
Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology ( FNZIFST )
Miranda is a Consumer Food Scientist with a background in agri-food marketing and consumer behaviour. She leads a Sustainable Food Systems Behavioural Research Group whose mission is catalysing change for a more sustainable food future. She conducts fundamental and translational behavioural research focused on improving people and planetary health. Miranda's research is providing a credible evidence base for decision-makers in New Zealand's food industry, the waste sector, the government and civil society organisations.
Miranda is the Director of the University of Otago Food Waste Innovation Research Theme which measures food waste, develops reduction strategies, applies innovative technology, and works to modify producer and consumer behaviour. As New Zealand's leading provider of food waste-related research, this group of interdisciplinary researchers harnesses the best scientific expertise at the University and nationwide in order to provide effective solutions to food waste problems.
Miranda is unquestionably passionate in her determination to use her role as a teacher to infect her students with the same passion to learn, and to make a difference in the world. She is the Lead of the University of Otago's work on the Global Citizenship Programme, an initiative to improve the Matariki Universities' capacity to be leading institutions in understanding citizenship and community engagement.
Global Citizenship Programme (Matariki website)
- FOSC 308 Food and Consumers
Miranda's behavioural research engages knowledge from fields such as marketing and psychology. She utilises a range of quantitative and qualitative methods such as: surveys and questionnaires, panels, systematic reviews, behaviour change experiments (in-field and lab based), projective techniques, observations, interviews, focus groups, ethnographic research, and Q methodology. Miranda specialises in conducting behavioural research in the Asia-Pacific region. She is an Honorary Professor at the International Business School Suzhou,Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China. Her strong network of Asia-Pacific based research affiliates means that she is able to conduct in-market behavioural research in the national language.
Miranda's projects, which provide insights and interventions for improved food system sustainability, embody many types of engagement outside of academia. In recognition of her proactive engagement with key external bodies, Miranda was the 2018 winner of the 'Outstanding Community Engagement Award', Division of Sciences, University of Otago. Miranda welcomes commercial research proposals and partnerships. She can help your organisation collect and apply insights from behavioural sciences to tackle a wide range of food systems challenges.
Miranda can help you with:
- Deep-dives and report writing
- Collecting insights to understand peoples' behaviours
- Creating evidence-based solutions to change peoples' behaviours (i.e. identify the barriers to achieving a desired activity, design a behavior change intervention or strategy to overcome the barriers, pilot the interventions/strategies before broad implementation)
- Strategic advising on food system sustainability issues
- Keynote talks, workshops and facilitation
Miranda's research falls into the following four key food sustainability areas:
Reducing food waste
- University of Otago Food Waste Innovations Research Theme
- The Mirosa Report: Independent Expert Advisor to Parliament's Environment Select Committee briefing looking into ways to prevent the waste of food in New Zealand
- Founding Chair of the New Zealand Food Waste Champions 12.3 Charitable Trust
Ensuring food safety and security
- University of Otago's Representative and Lead Researcher on Science Leadership Team of the NZ China Food Protection Network (NZCFPN): a Collaborative Centre for Food Safety and Security (2016–ongoing)
- University of Otago's Representative on the Science Leadership Team of the NZ Food Safety Science Research Centre (NZFSSRC): the Centre's research partners produce internationally recognised food safety science and support a diverse array of food producing, processing and retailing companies and associations.
- Behavioural Insights for Food Assurance Practices – a Cultural Perspective
- Building biometrics behavioural science capability to underpin sound food safety and security decision making
Improving food packaging and labelling
- Understanding the importance of smart packaging for consumer confidence, food safety and an improved supply chain
- Challenges and opportunities for the New Zealand food industry associated with the use of recycled non-permanent materials (thermoplastics, paper and board)
- Nutrition Labelling Research
Increasing consumption of plant-based foods
- Consumer attitudes and behaviours towards meat consumption and reduction
- Consumer perceptions of plant-based and novel/alternative proteins
- Protein futures: Future scenarios for land-use in Aotearoa New Zealand
- Future protein consumers – Riddet Institute CoRE (Associate Investigator)
Postgraduate supervision (current)
- Post Doc – Erin Young
- PhD, Grace Clare – Upcycling Rescued Food.
- PhD, Jessica O'Connor - Food loss and waste at the production end of the food supply chain in New Zealand. AgResearch Towards a Circular Bioeconomy Scholarship.
- PhD, Ruijun Li (Charlene) – Food delivery apps and resulting food and plastic waste. M Mirosa, P Bremer. University of Otago Science Division Strategic Scholarship.
- PhD, Stella Zhou – Chinese experiences of living a flexitarian lifestyle.
- MSc, Briar Mills – Food waste in university settings.
Thorsen, M., Mirosa, M., Skeaff, S., Goodman-Smith, F., & Bremer, P. (2024). Upcycled food: How does it support the three pillars of sustainability? Trends in Food Science & Technology, 143, 104269. doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2023.104269
Mills, B., O'Brien, R., Mirosa, M., & Skeaff, S. (2023). Food waste initiatives in the tertiary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand: The challenge of meeting SDG 12.3. Pūhau ana te rā: Tailwinds, 1(2). doi: 10.11157/patr.v1i2.23
Yin, H., Fang, S. E., Mirosa, M., & Kearney, T. (2023). Dairy purchase behaviors: Increasing understanding of Chinese consumers using a consumer involvement segmentation approach. Journal of Dairy Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.3168/jds.2022-22843
Cong, L., Luan, S., Young, E., Mirosa, M., Bremer, P., & Torrico, D. D. (2023). The application of biometric approaches in agri-food marketing: A systematic literature review. Foods, 12, 2982. doi: 10.3390/foods12162982
Wang, K., Cong, L., Mirosa, M., Hou, Y., & Bremer, P. (2023). Food Technology Neophobia Scales in cross-national context: Consumers’ acceptance of food technologies between Chinese and New Zealand. Journal of Food Science, 16693. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.16693