Communicating healthier food choice : food composition data, front-of-pack nutrition labelling and health claims.
Hodgkins, Charo E.
Background: Food composition data, front-of-pack nutrition labelling and nutrition and health claims have an important role to play in the development of appropriate policy, regulation and public health interventions ultimately aimed at reducing the burden of diet-related chronic disease. The overarching aim of this thesis is to explore whether the communication of healthier food choice through front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling and health claims can be enhanced by the development of consumer derived frameworks (typologies) of these domains, a greater understanding of the degree to which the different FOP labelling schemes impact on consumer health inferences and an improved approach to the sharing of food composition data between stakeholders.
Method: The potential for more effective approaches to the transfer of food composition data on processed foods, was explored via a survey conducted within the UK food industry (Study 1). To facilitate the development of a consumer derived typology of FOP nutrition labelling schemes in Europe, a free-sorting study utilising the ‘Multiple Sort Procedure’ (MSP) was performed in four countries; France, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom (Study 2). Building on the MSP methodology utilised in Study 2, a further study on nutrition and health claims was performed in five countries; Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom. (Study 3). The final study in this thesis sought to quantify the extent to which consumer perceptions of healthiness are impacted by the interpretative elements of the prevalent FOP labelling schemes in four countries; Germany, Poland, Turkey and the United Kingdom (Study 4).
Conclusion: The outcomes of this research propose an optimised approach to the sharing of food composition data, an optimised approach to FOP labelling and consumer derived typologies for both the FOP labelling and nutrition and health claims domains.