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Kaur A.,University of Oxford | Hieke S.,European Food Information Council | Rayner M.,University of Oxford
Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech | Year: 2016

In this article we look at the burden of disease due to poor diets in the European Union (EU), drawing on recent analyses of the Global Burden of Disease Study as a way of gauging EU consumers' actual, as opposed to perceived, health needs. Then we examine some findings of an EU-funded project with the overall aim of investigating the role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour (CLYMBOL). We look specifically at the CLYMBOL project's survey of the prevalence of health-related claims found on food packaging and at what such claims signal to consumers about their health needs. We find that the prevalence of different types of health-related claim bears little relationship to consumers' actual health needs. We conclude that the EU regulation on health and nutrition claims should pay more attention to the burden of disease due to poor diets in the EU, if it is to help protect the health of consumers. Source

Hieke S.,European Food Information Council | Hieke S.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Newman C.L.,University of Mississippi
Journal of Consumer Affairs | Year: 2015

Recent legislative changes in the European Union have mandated nutrition labeling for the majority of pre-packaged foods. This research compared effects of several nutrition labeling formats on consumers' food choices (i.e., the nutrition table, GDA 100 g/ml, and GDA portion). We primarily focused on whether nutrition label information was standardized to a fixed or varying comparison baseline. Fixed baselines (e.g., 100 g/ml) allow consumers to make direct, relative comparisons of products, while varying baselines (e.g., portion size) often require consumers to undertake complex mathematical calculations. Findings suggest that consumers' food choices are likely to be healthier when nutrition label information is presented on a fixed baseline. Gender was found to moderate these effects such that women made healthier choices-but only when the nutrition label baseline was fixed. Thus, the type of comparison baseline is an important characteristic of nutrition labels for public policymakers, public health officials, and academic researchers to consider. © 2015 by The American Council on Consumer Interests. Source

Walsh M.,University College Dublin | Kuhn S.,European Food Information Council
Nutrition Bulletin | Year: 2012

Food4Me is a 4-year multi-partner project under the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), investigating the potential of, and public attitudes towards, personalised nutrition. Food4Me has gathered an international group of experts to survey the current understanding of personalised nutrition and to explore the application of individualised nutrition advice. The Food4Me project will also investigate consumer attitudes and produce new scientific tools for implementation. The project, which started in 2011, expects among its outcomes and achievements a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities and challenges for future personalised nutrition business models; new scientific tools that use dietary, genetic and phenotypic data for personalised nutrition; and a validation of the impact of different levels of personalised nutrition advice to consumers, be they dietary, phenotypic or genetic. It will also report on the attitudes and beliefs of European consumers to all aspects of personalised nutrition, describe the ethical and legal implications, as well as produce best practice guidelines for communicating information on the issue. This will be the first study of its kind in the world, designed to mimic a fully internet-delivered, personalised nutrition service. © 2012 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2012 British Nutrition Foundation. Source

Grunert K.G.,University of Aarhus | Hieke S.,European Food Information Council | Wills J.,European Food Information Council
Food Policy | Year: 2014

This study investigates the relationship between consumer motivation, understanding and use of sustainability labels on food products (both environmental and ethical labels), which are increasingly appearing on food products. Data was collected by means of an online survey implemented in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and Poland, with a total sample size of 4408 respondents. Respondents expressed medium high to high levels of concern with sustainability issues at the general level, but lower levels of concern in the context of concrete food product choices. Understanding of the concept of sustainability was limited, but understanding of four selected labels (Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Carbon Footprint, and Animal Welfare) was better, as some of them seem to be self-explanatory. The results indicated a low level of use, no matter whether use was measured as self-reported use of different types of information available on food labels or as use inferred from the results of a choice-based conjoint analysis. Hierarchical regression indicated that use is related to both motivation and understanding, and that both motivation, understanding and use are affected by demographic characteristics, human values as measured by the Schwartz value domains, and country differences. The results imply that sustainability labels currently do not play a major role in consumers' food choices, and future use of these labels will depend on the extent to which consumers' general concern about sustainability can be turned into actual behaviour. © 2013 The Authors. Source

Friel M.,European Food Information Council | Wills J.M.,European Food Information Council
Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech | Year: 2014

Social media offers an approach to communicating which enforces many of the key principles of effective risk communication, such as timeliness and openness. However, the use of social media is not without its challenges. To ensure effective messages are communicated to the public during times of food risk/crises, it is imperative that sources of such information are cognisant of the role played by both traditional and social media. This paper discusses these issues and highlights some results from the recent European Commission-funded FoodRisC project - Perceptions and communication of food risk/benefits across Europe. Source

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