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Nutritional knowledge, nutritional labels, and health claims on food: A study of supermarket shoppers in the South East of England

Dan Petrovici (Kent Business School, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Andrew Fearne (Centre for Supply Chain Research, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr (Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)
Dimitris Drolias (Management Development Services, The Research Division, Peterborough, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 8 June 2012

3834

Abstract

Purpose

The primary purpose is to examine the factors that affect the use of nutritional facts, nutrient content claims and health claims on food label use in the United Kingdom.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports the results of a survey of over 300 face‐to‐face interviews with shoppers of Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury – three of the major supermarkets in the UK.

Findings

Product class involvement factors, individual characteristics, health‐related factors (nutritional knowledge, health locus of control, perceived need of dietary change), situational, attitudinal and behavioral factors were found to be significant factors affecting the use of nutritional information and nutritional and health claims on food labeling. While the use of nutritional information and health claims increases with the stated importance of “nutrition” and “family preferences”, it is less likely among shoppers for whom “taste” is an important driver of food purchasing behaviour. There is also evidence of mistrust in health claims, as indicated by the negative relationship between the consideration of such claims and the stated importance of “quality” and perceived need to “change dietary quality” – the more discerning shoppers are the least likely to consider health claims.

Originality/value

The study provides evidence that a wider range of product class involvement factors is necessary to predict the use of nutritional information and nutritional and health claims on food labeling. It also offers a conceptualization of health‐related factors to include health locus of control as a predictor of the acquisition of nutrition and health information.

Keywords

Citation

Petrovici, D., Fearne, A., Nayga, R.M. and Drolias, D. (2012), "Nutritional knowledge, nutritional labels, and health claims on food: A study of supermarket shoppers in the South East of England", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 6, pp. 768-783. https://doi.org/10.1108/00070701211234318

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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