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Title: Consumer interpretation of nutrition and health messages on food products : the role of individual characteristics and front-package features
Author: Allard, Alain
ISNI:       0000 0004 2722 4186
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2011
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Under the new Regulation (1924IEC2006), consumer understanding is now one the criteria for the approval Of NH claims. This thesis focuses on consumer interpretation of NH claims as a key factor influencing expectations of product healthfulness and potential health benefits. Based on spreading activation theory and the Elaboration Likelihood Model, the thesis investigates the impact of package characteristics and personal determinants on consumer perceptions of product attributes and potential health benefits. Using a combined approach of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the research found that people's expectations of a product's healthfulness are primarily influenced by personal characteristics, and to a lesser extent, by NH claims and other front package characteristics. With regards to front package characteristics, results suggest that colour-coding nutritional information may create a negativity bias while endorsement/logo schemes may create a positivity bias in some cases. However, data show that variations in the wording of a claim only have a small impact on consumer evaluations. With regards to personal determinants, result show that people's motivation (expressed in terms of personal relevance) and their perceived understanding of the information on food products play an important part in the way consumers evaluate a product's healthfulness. Level of liking of the pictures on the package and perceived expertise of the organisation supporting NH claims were also found to have a significant influence on consumer evaluations. Furthermore, the belief that a product's health benefits increase with increasing consumption (dose insensitivity) appears to be relatively common amongst consumers. Implications for these findings are dis cussed in context, along with considerations for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available