Session 4: Getting balanced nutrition messages across Nutrition communication: consumer perceptions and predicting intentions

Moira Dean, Liisa Lahteenmaki, Richard Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Health claims on food products, which aim at informing the public about the health benefits of the product, represent one type of nutrition communication; the use of these is regulated by the European Union. This paper provides an overview of the research on health claims, including consumers' perceptions of such claims and their intention to buy products that carry health-related claims. This is followed by a discussion on the results from some recent studies investigating public perceptions and willingness to use products with health claims. In these studies, claims are presented in the form of messages of different lengths, types, framing, with and without qualifying words and symbols. They also investigate how perceptions and intentions are affected by individual needs and product characteristics. Results show that adding health claims to products does increase their perceived healthiness. Claim structure was found to make a difference to perceptions, but its influence depended on the level of relevance, familiarity and individuals' need for information. Further, the type of health benefit proposed and the base product used also affected perceptions of healthiness. The paper concludes that while healthiness perceptions relating to products with health claims may vary between men and women, old and young and between countries, the main factor influencing perceived healthiness and intention to buy a product with health claim is personal relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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