The impact of nutrition and health claims on consumer perceptions and portion size selection: Results from a nationally representative survey

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
290 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Nutrition and health claims on foods can help consumers make healthier food choices. However, claims may have a ‘halo’ effect, influencing consumer perceptions of foods and increasing consumption. Evidence for these effects are typically demonstrated in experiments with small samples, limiting generalisability. The current study aimed to overcome this limitation through the use of a nationally representative survey. In a cross-sectional survey of 1039 adults across the island of Ireland, respondents were presented with three different claims (nutrition claim = “Low in fat”; health claim = “With plant sterols. Proven to lower cholesterol”; satiety claim = “Fuller for longer”) on four different foods (cereal, soup, lasagne, and yoghurt). Participants answered questions on perceived healthiness, tastiness, and fillingness of the products with different claims and also selected a portion size they would consume. Claims influenced fillingness perceptions of some of the foods. However, there was little influence of claims on tastiness or healthiness perceptions or the portion size selected. Psychological factors such as consumers’ familiarity with foods carrying claims and belief in the claims were the most consistent predictors of perceptions and portion size selection. Future research should identify additional consumer factors that may moderate the relationships between claims, perceptions, and consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number656
Number of pages15
JournalNutrients
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2018

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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