Objective: For more effective nutrition communication, it is crucial to identify sources from which consumers seek information. Our purpose was to assess perceived relevance and information needs regarding food topics, and preferred information sources by means of quantitative consumer research. Design: Based on qualitative studies, a quantitative questionnaire was developed and administered in face-to-face interviews. Subjects: The study population consisted of Dutch adults aged 18-80 y. A stratified sample of 923 adults was taken from the GfK ScriptPanel; 603 respondents completed the questionnaire. Results: Despite high perceived relevance of food topics regarding dietary guidelines (55-78%), most respondents indicated that they did not want more information about these topics (71-74%). Furthermore, our study revealed information needs regarding safety- and health-related food topics (up to 77% in some subgroups). Differences in perceived relevance and information needs were found in subgroups based on gender, age, perceived weight and socioeconomic status. Education offices of the food sector and the family doctor were mentioned for most food topics, who ranked among the highest regarding perceived reliability, perceived expertise, clearness and accessibility. Conclusions: With respect to five food topics (losing weight, sports and nutrition, lowering cholesterol, carbohydrates and food composition), interested subgroups should receive tailored information. For other groups and food topics, a population-wide strategy should suffice, utilising the preferred information source. If people who are not yet interested become interested through a life event, information on demand can be put into action. Sponsorship: Dutch Dairy Association.
- primary-care physicians
- nutrition information