Are the claims to blame? A qualitative study to understand the effects of nutrition and health claims on perceptions and consumption of food

Tony Benson, Fiona Lavelle, Amanda McCloat, Elaine Mooney, Tamara Bucher, Bernadette Egan, Moira Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Nutrition and Health Claims (NHCs) have been found to influence perceptions of food and consumption behaviour. While previous quantitative research has identified factors that may explain these effects, the current study aimed to address the dearth of in-depth exploration as to the underlying reasons why and how claims may impact upon perceptions and behaviour and the relationships between key factors. Seventy-eight participants took part in 10 focus groups. Discussions were transcribed verbatim and Nvivo 11 was used for thematic analysis. Six themes were developed from the data: 1. Target populations for NHCs; 2. Influence of NHCs on purchasing behaviour; 3. Characteristics/perceptions of products displaying NHCs; 4. Believability of NHCs; 5. Superior yet superficial knowledge; 6. Consumption of products displaying NHCs. Knowledge was a key factor influencing how much individuals believe claims (Believability of NHCs) and their perceptions (Characteristics/perceptions of products displaying NHCs). These perceptions and the characteristics of products displaying claims also impacted believability, as well as purchasing behaviour and consumption. Future research should be cognisant of the role of knowledge and characteristics or perceptions of products in the relationship between NHCs and consumer behaviour, and modelling of these relationships would allow their relative strength to be identified.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2058
Number of pages14
JournalNutrients
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 02 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Consumer
  • Focus groups
  • Food labelling
  • Health claims
  • Health halo
  • Nudging
  • Nutrition claims
  • Perceptions
  • Portion size
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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