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Open AccessArticle

The Impact of Nutrition and Health Claims on Consumer Perceptions and Portion Size Selection: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey

1
Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5AG, UK
2
School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
3
Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
4
Department of Home Economics, St. Angela’s College, F91 C634 Sligo, Ireland
5
Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(5), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10050656
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Portion Size in Relation to Diet and Health)
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Abstract

Nutrition and health claims on foods can help consumers make healthier food choices. However, claims may have a ‘halo’ effect, influencing consumer perceptions of foods and increasing consumption. Evidence for these effects are typically demonstrated in experiments with small samples, limiting generalisability. The current study aimed to overcome this limitation through the use of a nationally representative survey. In a cross-sectional survey of 1039 adults across the island of Ireland, respondents were presented with three different claims (nutrition claim = “Low in fat”; health claim = “With plant sterols. Proven to lower cholesterol”; satiety claim = “Fuller for longer”) on four different foods (cereal, soup, lasagne, and yoghurt). Participants answered questions on perceived healthiness, tastiness, and fillingness of the products with different claims and also selected a portion size they would consume. Claims influenced fillingness perceptions of some of the foods. However, there was little influence of claims on tastiness or healthiness perceptions or the portion size selected. Psychological factors such as consumers’ familiarity with foods carrying claims and belief in the claims were the most consistent predictors of perceptions and portion size selection. Future research should identify additional consumer factors that may moderate the relationships between claims, perceptions, and consumption. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrition claims; health claims; portion size; perceptions; health halo; food labelling; consumer; nudging nutrition claims; health claims; portion size; perceptions; health halo; food labelling; consumer; nudging
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Benson, T.; Lavelle, F.; Bucher, T.; McCloat, A.; Mooney, E.; Egan, B.; Collins, C.E.; Dean, M. The Impact of Nutrition and Health Claims on Consumer Perceptions and Portion Size Selection: Results from a Nationally Representative Survey. Nutrients 2018, 10, 656.

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