Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Persuasive techniques on food packaging : the exposure, power and influence on children's food behaviours
Author: McGale, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 3824
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Background: Experimental studies have shown that exposure to food marketing can affect children's food preferences, choices and consumption in the short-term. However, little is known about the influences of various persuasive techniques used on food packaging, specifically the use of brand equity characters, portion size depictions and traffic light labels. Furthermore, the exposure and power of these persuasive techniques on food packaging has yet to be established in a UK setting. The current thesis used innovative methodologies to examine hypotheses which aim to address the gaps in the current literature, in children aged 4-11 years, and to quantify the power and exposure of these techniques in a UK supermarket. Key Findings: The exposure to, and power of, persuasive techniques on food packaging in a UK supermarket (Chapter 3): The number of child-specific products being promoted to children in the UK supermarket was high, and these products were predominantly unhealthy. These findings remained consistent across several supermarkets surveyed, and no seasonal variation was found. Promotional characters (brand equity characters, licensed characters, celebrity endorsers and children) were the most dominant persuasive technique used to promote foods to children, with brand equity characters being the most frequently used character type. Furthermore, brand equity characters were used to promote predominantly unhealthy foods. Front of pack nutritional labelling was present on the majority of child-specific foods, with traffic light labelling being the most frequently used system. Effects of acute, experimental exposure to persuasive techniques on food packaging (Chapters 4 and 5): Relative to the use of brand equity characters on food packaging (Chapter 4), exposure to these characters on food packaging influenced children's food preferences and choices, in favour of those foods presented with the character on the packaging. This was true even when the character was presented on a food it is not typically used to promote. With regards to portion size depictions on the front of food packaging (Chapter 5), children in the large portion size condition were found to both serve and consume more cereal, compared to the small portion size condition. Effects of an intervention to improve accuracy when using traffic light labels (Chapter 6): Children's accuracy when using traffic light labels to identify the healthier item from a matched food pair improved after a brief online intervention. The effect was particularly evident in those who had the lowest accuracy stores at baseline. Implications: This thesis increases the current understanding of how persuasive techniques employed on food packaging can influence children's food preferences, choices and consumption in response to acute, experimental exposure. In addition, this thesis provides the first comprehensive assessment of the exposure to, and power of, food packaging techniques aimed at promoting foods to children in UK supermarkets.
Supervisor: Boyland, E. J. ; Halford, J. C. G. ; Harrold, J. A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral