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Hieke S.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Kuljanic N.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Wills J.M.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Pravst I.,University of Ljubljana | And 5 more authors.
Nutrition Bulletin | Year: 2015

Health claims and symbols are potential aids to help consumers identify foods that are healthier options. However, little is known as to how health claims and symbols are used by consumers in real-world shopping situations, thus making the science-based formulation of new labelling policies and the evaluation of existing ones difficult. The objective of the European Union-funded project Role of health-relatedCLaimsandsYMBOLsin consumer behaviour (CLYMBOL) is to determine how health-related information provided through claims and symbols, in their context, can affect consumer understanding, purchase and consumption. To do this, a wide range of qualitative and quantitative consumer research methods are being used, including product sampling, sorting studies (i.e. how consumers categorise claims and symbols according to concepts such as familiarity and relevance), cross-country surveys, eye-tracking (i.e. what consumers look at and for how long), laboratory and in-store experiments, structured interviews, as well as analysis of population panel data. EU Member States differ with regard to their history of use and regulation of health claims and symbols prior to the harmonisation of 2006. Findings to date indicate the need for more structured and harmonised research on the effects of health claims and symbols on consumer behaviour, particularly taking into account country-wide differences and individual characteristics such as motivation and ability to process health-related information. Based on the studies within CLYMBOL, implications and recommendations for stakeholders such as policymakers will be provided. © 2015 The Authors. Nutrition Bulletin published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Nutrition Foundation.


Barnett J.,Brunel University | McConnon A.,University College Dublin | Kennedy J.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Raats M.,University of Surrey | And 7 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2011

Background: European consumers are faced with a myriad of food related risk and benefit information and it is regularly left up to the consumer to interpret these, often conflicting, pieces of information as a coherent message. This conflict is especially apparent in times of food crises and can have major public health implications. Scientific results and risk assessments cannot always be easily communicated into simple guidelines and advice that non-scientists like the public or the media can easily understand especially when there is conflicting, uncertain or complex information about a particular food or aspects thereof. The need for improved strategies and tools for communication about food risks and benefits is therefore paramount. The FoodRisC project ("Food Risk Communication - Perceptions and communication of food risks/benefits across Europe: development of effective communication strategies") aims to address this issue. The FoodRisC project will examine consumer perceptions and investigate how people acquire and use information in food domains in order to develop targeted strategies for food communication across Europe. Methods/Design. This project consists of 6 research work packages which, using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, are focused on development of a framework for investigating food risk/benefit issues across Europe, exploration of the role of new and traditional media in food communication and testing of the framework in order to develop evidence based communication strategies and tools. The main outcome of the FoodRisC project will be a toolkit to enable coherent communication of food risk/benefit messages in Europe. The toolkit will integrate theoretical models and new measurement paradigms as well as building on social marketing approaches around consumer segmentation. Use of the toolkit and guides will assist policy makers, food authorities and other end users in developing common approaches to communicating coherent messages to consumers in Europe. Discussion. The FoodRisC project offers a unique approach to the investigation of food risk/benefit communication. The effective spread of food risk/benefit information will assist initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of food-related illness and disease, reducing the economic impact of food crises and ensuring that confidence in safe and nutritious food is fostered and maintained in Europe. © 2011 Barnett et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Hodgkins C.,University of Surrey | Barnett J.,Brunel University | Wasowicz-Kirylo G.,University of Warsaw | Stysko-Kunkowska M.,University of Warsaw | And 9 more authors.
Appetite | Year: 2012

Significant ongoing debate exists amongst stakeholders as to the best front-of-pack labelling approach and emerging evidence suggests that the plethora of schemes may cause confusion for the consumer. To gain a better understanding of the relevant psychological phenomena and consumer perspectives surrounding FoP labelling schemes and their optimal development a Multiple Sort Procedure study involving free sorting of a range of nutritional labels presented on cards was performed in four countries (n=60). The underlying structure of the qualitative data generated was explored using Multiple Scalogram Analysis. Elicitation of categorisations from consumers has the potential to provide a very important perspective in this arena and results demonstrated that the amount of information contained within a nutrition label has high salience for consumers, as does the health utility of the label although a dichotomy exists in the affective evaluation of the labels containing varying degrees of information aggregation. Classification of exiting front-of-pack labelling systems on a proposed dimension of 'directiveness' leads to a better understanding of why some schemes may be more effective than others in particular situations or for particular consumers. Based on this research an enhanced hypothetical front-of-pack labelling scheme which combines both directive and non-directive elements is proposed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | European Food Information Council EUFIC, Heart Health, University of Surrey and Nutrition Institute
Type: Editorial | Journal: European journal of clinical nutrition | Year: 2016

Backgroung/Objectives:Compares the nutritional quality of pre-packaged foods carrying health-related claims with foods that do not carry health-related claims.Cross-sectional survey of pre-packaged foods available in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the United Kingdom in 2013. A total of 2034 foods were randomly sampled from three food store types (a supermarket, a neighbourhood store and a discounter). Nutritional information was taken from nutrient declarations present on food labels and assessed through a comparison of mean levels, regression analyses and the application of a nutrient profile model currently used to regulate health claims in Australia and New Zealand (Food Standards Australia New Zealands Nutrient Profiling Scoring Criterion, FSANZ NPSC).Foods carrying health claims had, on average, lower levels, per 100g, of the following nutrients, energy-29.3kcal (P<0.05), protein-1.2g (P<0.01), total sugars-3.1g (P<0.05), saturated fat-2.4g (P<0.001), and sodium-842mg (P<0.001), and higher levels of fibre-0.8g (P<0.001). A similar pattern was observed for foods carrying nutrition claims. Forty-three percent (confidence interval (CI) 41%, 45%) of foods passed the FSANZ NPSC, with foods carrying health claims more likely to pass (70%, CI 64%, 76%) than foods carrying nutrition claims (61%, CI 57%, 66%) or foods that did not carry either type of claim (36%, CI 34%, 38%).Foods carrying health-related claims have marginally better nutrition profiles than those that do not carry claims; these differences would be increased if the FSANZ NPSC was used to regulate health-related claims. It is unclear whether these relatively small differences have significant impacts on health.


Gaspar R.,Instituto Universitario Of Lisbon | Gaspar R.,University of Évora | Gorjao S.,Instituto Universitario Of Lisbon | Seibt B.,Instituto Universitario Of Lisbon | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Human Computer Studies | Year: 2014

Food crises imply responses that are not what people and organisations would normally do, if one or more threats (health, economic, etc.) were not present. At an individual level, this motivates individuals to implement coping strategies aimed at adaptation to the threat that has been presented, as well as the reduction of stressful experiences. In this regard, microblogging channels such as Twitter emerge as a valuable resource to access individuals' expressions of coping. Accordingly, Twitter expressions are generally more natural, spontaneous and heterogeneous - in cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions - than expressions found on other types of social media (e.g. blogs). Moreover, as a social media channel, it provides access not only to an individual but also to a social level of analysis, i.e. a psychosocial media analysis. To show the potential in this regard, our study analysed Twitter messages produced by individuals during the 2011 EHEC/Escherichia coli bacteria outbreak in Europe, due to contaminated food products. This involved more than 3100 cases of bloody diarrhoea and 850 of haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), and 53 confirmed deaths across the EU. Based on data collected in Spain, the country initially thought to be the source of the outbreak, an initial quantitative analysis considered 11,411 tweets, of which 2099 were further analysed through a qualitative content analysis. This aimed at identifying (1) the ways of coping expressed during the crisis; and (2) how uncertainty about the contaminated product, expressed through hazard notifications, influenced the former. Results revealed coping expressions as being dynamic, flexible and social, with a predominance of accommodation, information seeking and opposition (e.g. anger) strategies. The latter were more likely during a period of uncertainty, with the opposite being true for strategies relying on the identification of the contaminated product (e.g. avoid consumption/purchase). Implications for food crisis communication and monitoring systems are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Wills J.M.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Storcksdieck Genannt Bonsmann S.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Kolka M.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Grunert K.G.,University of Aarhus
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society | Year: 2012

Health claims on food products are often used as a means to highlight scientifically proven health benefits associated with consuming those foods. But do consumers understand and trust health claims? This paper provides an overview of recent research on consumers and health claims including attitudes, understanding and purchasing behaviour. A majority of studies investigated selective product-claim combinations, with ambiguous findings apart from consumers' self-reported generic interest in health claims. There are clear indications that consumer responses differ substantially according to the nature of carrier product, the type of health claim, functional ingredient used or a combination of these components. Health claims tend to be perceived more positively when linked to a product with an overall positive health image, whereas some studies demonstrate higher perceived credibility of products with general health claims (e.g. omega-3 and brain development) compared to disease risk reduction claims (e.g. bioactive peptides to reduce risk of heart disease), others report the opposite. Inconsistent evidence also exists on the correlation between having a positive attitude towards products with health claims and purchase intentions. Familiarity with the functional ingredient and/or its claimed health effect seems to result in a more favourable evaluation. Better nutritional knowledge, however, does not automatically lead to a positive attitude towards products carrying health messages. Legislation in the European Union requires that the claim is understood by the average consumer. As most studies on consumers' understanding of health claims are based on subjective understanding, this remains an area for more investigation. © 2012 The Authors.


Grunert K.G.,University of Aarhus | Celemin L.F.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Storcksdieck S.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Wills J.M.,European Food Information Council EUFIC
Food Science and Technology | Year: 2012

Motivation and attention are the major bottlenecks in nutrition labeling. Nutrition labeling is meant to aid people in choosing more healthful products when shopping for food. It is one of many initiatives taken to encourage people to eat more healthfully. The nutrition information to be found on the back of many products, which can be hard to find and read, has therefore more recently been supplemented by simplified information presented on the front of the pack. It also helps if consumers like the nutrition labeling system. To what extent consumers will pay attention to labels, like, understand and use them, may depend on the label format, but will also depend on the consumers' motivation to make healthful choices. Consumers' ability to understand and make correct inferences from nutrition label information was studied using a variety of tasks.


Bonsmann S.S.G.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Celemin L.F.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Grunert K.G.,University of Aarhus
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2010

Background/Objectives:Nutrition labels are potentially a major instrument for enabling consumers to make healthier food choices, but current insights into how nutrition labels are used by consumers in real-world shopping situations are limited, making the science-based formulation of new labelling policies and the evaluation of existing ones difficult. The objective of the European Union-funded project Food Labelling to Advance Better Education for Life (FLABEL) is to determine how nutrition labelling can affect dietary choices, consumer habits and food-related health issues.Subjects/Methods:A wide range of qualitative and quantitative consumer research methods is being used, including physical auditing, label sorting tasks, eye tracking and electrodermal response, structured interviews and analysis of retail scanner data.Results:First results from the project show that, on the basis of consumer responses, nutrition labels available in Europe can be categorised as non-directive, semidirective or directive. Penetration of nutrition labelling on food and drink packages in five product categories seems widespread, with the nutrition table on the back of packs being the most prominent format (found on 84% of over 37 000 products audited in 28 countries). The higher penetration observed in Northern Europe is paralleled by more public health campaigns in this region alerting consumers to nutrition labelling systems and elements covered therein (for example, calories, salt and fat).Conclusions:The findings to date indicate that nutrition labelling is widespread in Europe but formats and level of detail may differ between countries and products. Upcoming studies within FLABEL will decipher whether and how the various elements of nutrition labels affect attention, liking, understanding, use and dietary choices, and what the implications are for stakeholders such as policy makers. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.


Traill W.B.,University of Reading | Mazzocchi M.,University of Bologna | Niedzwiedzka B.,Jagiellonian University | Shankar B.,University of London | Wills J.,European Food Information Council EUFIC
Nutrition Bulletin | Year: 2013

The EATWELL research project (www.eatwellproject.eu) (Interventions to Promote Healthy Eating Habits: Evaluation and Recommendations) funded by the European Commission aimed to improve nutrition policy in Europe by providing scientifically sound evidence on the effectiveness of past healthy eating interventions. This interdisciplinary project involved academic partners from 5 European Union countries and 10 partners in all. As a first step, the project identified 121 large-scale policy interventions in European countries over the period 1990-2010 and any existing evidence on their evaluation. Of these policies, 82 were aimed at supporting informed choices, and the remaining 39 sought to change the market environment by enhancing the availability of healthier foods, restricting the availability of less healthy foods or nutrients, or changing relative food prices through food taxes or subsidies. Subsequently, advanced quantitative evaluation models were used to conduct a fresh analysis of a small selection of these policy case studies, based on secondary data. Based on these evaluations, together with garnered public and stakeholder opinion, the project put forward proposals for future healthy eating policies, improved evaluation methods and the collection of better data. © 2013 British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin.


Rollin F.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Kennedy J.,European Food Information Council EUFIC | Wills J.,European Food Information Council EUFIC
Trends in Food Science and Technology | Year: 2011

This paper aims to describe the current landscape in Europe within which emerging food technologies are developed and applied, and to give insights from other parts of the world. Consumers' attitudes towards emerging food technologies are described, with a focus on five case-studies; nanotechnology, genetic modification, nutrigenomics, food irradiation and animal cloning. Stakeholders' opinions specifically on nanotechnology are also discussed taking into account a recent European consultation. The factors that shape consumers' views such as perceptions, knowledge and information, trust and socio-demographic attributes that influence consumers' views, are also included. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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