The purpose of this paper is to determine how the typical purchasers of products with nutrition symbols differ from other purchasers with respect to socio-demographic characteristics. Furthermore the authors examine if the typical purchaser is similar across six product types in Denmark and in the Netherlands.
The authors estimate probit models using a representative panel of households registering all their daily purchases during a year, three years after the introduction of a nutrition symbol in Denmark and the Netherlands (the Keyhole and the Choices). The purchase data are matched with information about labelling status. Other product and purchase characteristics, such as store-type and organic, are controlled for.
Households with children tend to have a lower probability of purchasing labelled products compared to other household types, while urbanity increases the probability. This holds both across countries and across products. In Denmark education is positively correlated with label purchase, while in the Netherlands it is income. Generally, the observable characteristics of the consumers are poor in explaining the probability of purchasing labelled products which suggests that other aspects as the underlying attitudes and general health awareness may be of greater importance in identifying these consumers.
There is a lack of studies analysing the effect of front-of-pack symbols on households’ product choices based on observed data as most previous studies are based on stated observation or purchase intentions.
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