Gracia, A. & J. Barreiro HurleMaking sense of information overload: Consumer ranking of nutritional claims in cereal based products

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Azucena Gracia & Jesus Barreiro Hurle

Release date:
November 2019

MDPI, Special Issue Nutrition, Choice and Health-Related Claims

As a result of increased consumer awareness, demand for healthier food products is increasing day by day. Consumers seek healthier versions of food products which they relate to reduced presence of unhealthy components or increased presence of healthy ones. As a result, the food industry has not only increased the variety of products available but also uses nutritional claims to signal the presence of more substances. As an average consumer at the supermarket devotes just a few seconds to selecting each product, they are only able or willing to process that information that immediately attracts their attention or that is felt to be more important to them. This paper analyses how consumers rank different nutritional claims for two processed cereal products. Five claims were chosen to reflect the current market landscape of availability, and that relates to both “healthy” (i.e., fiber) and “unhealthy” (i.e., fat) substances. The authors use a direct ranking preference method with data from a survey conducted with consumers in a Spanish region in 2017. Results show that the ranking of claims differs between the two products (biscuits and pastries) and across consumers. However, consumers prefer those that show reduced presence of unhealthy substances above those that highlight the presence of healthy ones. Therefore, policy to maximize the impact of nutritional labelling should be product-specific.

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