The number of food products containing extra or reduced levels of specific ingredients (e.g. extra calcium) that bring particular health benefits (e.g. stronger bones) is still increasing. Nutrition- and health-related (NH) claims promoting these ingredient levels and their health benefit differ in terms of the (legal) strength with which the claim is brought forward and the specific wording of the claim, both of which may differ between countries. Using a large-scale cross-national internet-based survey in Italy (n=1566), Germany (n=1620), UK (n=1560) and US (n=1621), the purpose of the study described here is to investigate consumer perceptions of NH food product claims, across different countries. NH claims are systematically varied as a function of six health benefits (cardiovascular disease, stress, infections, fatigue, overweight and concentration) and five claim types (content, structure-function, product, disease-risk reduction and marketing claim). The general results indicate that consumer perceptions differ substantially by country and benefit being claimed but much less by the claim type. Implications of these findings are being discussed.
- labeling regulations
- facts panel