This study aims to assess the exposure of Lebanese consumers to nutrition and health claims (NHCs) on pre-packed bread.
Bread samples (n = 354) from all the bakeries (n = 44) located in Mount Lebanon, between 2017 and 2018, were assessed. Breads with nutrition claims were analyzed using standard methods. A cross-sectional study was also conducted among 400 supermarket shoppers.
Results showed that among the collected samples of bread (n = 354), 59.6 per cent carried at least one claim, 47.2 per cent had non-nutrient claims, 32.5 per cent had nutrition claims and 15.3 per cent presented health claims. Claims related to sugar, salt and fiber content were the most commonly used (28.8 , 16.4 and 14.7 per cent, respectively). NHCs were mostly present on whole wheat bread. Breads with claims were more expensive. Half of the participants (49.8 per cent) relied on NHCs whenever purchasing bread, especially females (OR = 2.35, 95 per cent CI = 1.44-3.84, p = 0.001), those following a specific diet (OR = 4.56, 95 per cent CI = 2.02-10.25, p < 0.001) and those with the lowest household income (OR = 0.795, 95 per cent CI = 0.639-0.989, p = 0.040).
The overall findings showed that Lebanese consumers are highly exposed to NHCs, especially those at higher risk which could lead to serious public health issues if their use is not strictly regulated and controlled. Moreover, NHCs could be used as a tool to increase consumers’ awareness and help them make healthier choices during shopping.
The authors would like to express their gratitude to the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L) and Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) for funding this project. Title of the project: “Nutritional Claims of the Lebanese Bread Products: Prevalence, Truthfulness and Consumer Perceptions”. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection analysis, interpretation and reporting or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Bou-Mitri, C., Khnaisser, L., Bou Ghanem, M., Merhi, S., Fares, J.E.-H., Doumit, J. and Farhat, A.G. (2020), "Consumers’ exposure to claims on pre-packed bread: the case of a developing country, Lebanon", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 50 No. 6, pp. 1033-1051. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-08-2019-0273
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