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A Survey of Polish Consumers’ Views on Health and Nutrition Claims Made on Food Packaging

   | 02. Feb. 2022


Goal: To examine the impact of nutrition and health claims on Polish consumers’ buying attitudes and intentions.

Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire-based survey was conducted with a group of 200 Polish consumers using the CAWI method, selected by means of purposive, “snowball” sampling. The survey form consisted of 4 parts: A — evaluation of photos of sample products with nutrition claims, health claims, both type of claims, or no claims (control group); B — answering questions about food labelling and the use of nutrition claims; C — opining on health and nutrition claims presented as separate, non-product-specific messages.

Findings: The perception of the health and nutrition quality of products with health and nutrition claims was found to be strongly dependent on the consumer’s attitude towards a given type of food. The presence of claims seems to have a neutral effect on the perception of the taste of products connoted with healthy eating, but a negative influence in the case of products considered unhealthy. Despite the great interest in the information contained in the labels of food products and healthy eating, Polish consumers still display only a slight degree of knowledge about such claims. At the same time, they seem to be skeptical of the reliability of the health and nutritional- related information on the packaging of food products, which is not correlated with their level of knowledge on the subject. The presence of claims is not decisive for consumers in terms of making purchasing decisions, and claims are less important to them than the use-by-date or the price of the product. Also, claims do not mean the product is perceived by consumers as less caloric.

Practical implications: In order to meet the expectations of modern consumers, food producers should consider placing both types of claims on labels, as well as undertaking other promotional activities that draw consumers’ attention to the health and nutrition benefits of their products. Due to the fact that a good knowledge of and interest in healthy eating does not translate into a better understanding of nutrition claims, it is necessary to increase consumer awareness of food law. Due to consumer skepticism about health and nutritional-related information, food producers should ensure that the information on their product labels is as consistent as possible.

Originality and value: This is one of the few studies conducted among Polish food consumers that examine how the presence of health and nutrition claims on food labels affect perceptions and purchasing intentions regarding food products.