Nutrition Labels and Families

November 11/Food Weekly News -- According to recent research from Aarhus, Denmark, "How interested and competent are families in fact when using nutritional information on food labels? By means of ethnographical methodologies 12 families with children aged 9-13 were monitored when shopping for food and in their own home when cooking and eating dinner in order to explore their use of nutritional information on food labels and the problems they experience. Later, 300 parents participated in a hall test, the purpose being to investigate the relation between the problems and use of as well as the problems and preference for nutritional labelling."

"Children use nutritional information rarely or not at all. Parents seldom use nutritional information when they seem to sense an overflow of information, information that is too technical and a problematic presentation of energy distribution, and/or when their health consciousness is limited," wrote M.K. Norgaard and colleagues, Aarhus University.

The researchers concluded, "Having to deal with information overflow, technical information and energy distribution makes parents more likely to prefer food labels with concise information and more visual aspects."

Norgaard and colleagues published their study in Food Quality and Preference ("Families' Use of Nutritional Information on Food Labels." Food Quality and Preference, 2009;20(8 Sp. Iss.):597-606).

For additional information, contact M.K. Norgaard, Aarhus University, Aarhus School Business, Dept. of Mkt & Statistics, MAPP Center Research Customer Relat Food Sector, Haslegaardsvej 10, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark.

From the November 23, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition