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How Health-Related Claims And Symbols Impact Consumer Behaviour
A cutting-edge research project comprising research institutes and communication experts across Europe has set out to study the role of health-related claims and symbols in consumer behaviour.
One of the goals of CLYMBOL is to understand how claims and symbols appear on food and drink products, in their context, and how this information can help guide consumer behaviour. In addition, a toolbox will be produced to support guidance in measuring the impact of claims and symbols on understanding, purchase and consumption behaviour. Findings will be used to design better communication activities and draw implications for policy makers and the European food industry.
There are 14 partners working on the CLYMBOL project, which is more than half way through its planned four years. It is split into six main work areas and receives partial funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.
The project’s first work area focusses on the history of health-related claim and symbol use across EU member states; their current prevalence on food packaging and in which context the claims and symbols appear. Among other things, 53 European key representatives from national food authorities, representatives of the food industry and consumer organisations were interviewed. Results showed that there are vast differences in Europe when it comes to how health claims and symbols have been regulated before 2006, and how their use was monitored. The stakeholder groups did express a strong interest in evaluating the impact of health claims and symbols, in particular (1) the role of health claims and symbols in consumer behaviour; (2) their impact on public health; and (3) economic effects. Building on these findings, researchers have sampled more than 2,000 food and drink products in five EU member states and are currently analysing the packaging for product- and health-related information. They are reviewing which claims and symbols are found, how they are classified and the nutritional composition of foods carrying those claims and symbols.
Consumer needs and wants with regards to health claims and symbols are important to identify in CLYMBOL. In a second work area of the project, the researchers are looking at consumer models of health (e.g. their beliefs and inferences related to specific health outcomes) and how they use these models to interpret nutrition and health claims. Furthermore, an online study of European consumers in 10 countries was undertaken to assess how motivated and able food shoppers were in processing health claims and symbols on food products, and whether there are country-specific or segment-specific differences, such as social demographics. In general, European consumers’ motivation and ability to process health claims differed little between claims and symbols. How motivated people were to process health-related claims depended strongly on their ‘need for information’, while ‘subjective knowledge about the healthiness of food’ correlated strongly with how able people were to process claims.
A methodological toolbox will be developed, as part of the third work area, to enable researchers and other stakeholders such as public authorities, industry and consumer organisations to measure the impact of health claims and symbols on consumer understanding, purchase and consumption behaviour. The toolbox will cover a range of tested and validated methods, explaining how to apply each technique; which research questions are most suitable and how to undertake the analysis and interpretation. The toolbox will be made publicly available at the end of the project.
In work area four, a wide range of European studies will be undertaken to empirically investigate the effects of health claims and symbols on consumer understanding, purchase and consumption behaviour. This will take the form of in-store and experimental studies in selected supermarkets. Methods that will be applied include eye-tracking of consumers, household panel data, surveys and actual food and nutrient intake during consumption. This work will be completed by early 2016.
The implications of findings from work areas one to four for different stakeholders (consumers, industry, retailers, non-governmental organisations, policy makers and others), including actionable recommendations for communication and education around health claims and symbols, will be analysed in the fifth work package. Furthermore, researchers will study the effect on consumer awareness, perception and understanding of a social media-based health logo campaign, which ran in the Netherlands in 2014.
The project also has a separate work area which focusses on the dissemination and communication of CLYMBOL. All project information can be accessed through the project website at www.clymbol.eu.
For further information please see:
Hieke, S., Kuljanic, N., Wills, J. M., Pravst, I., Kaur, A., Raats, M. M., van Trijp, H. C. M., Verbeke, W. and Grunert, K. G. (2015). The role of health-related claims and health-related symbols in consumer behaviour: Design and conceptual framework of the CLYMBOL project and initial results. Nutrition Bulletin 40(1): 66-72.
Brits Skip Traditional Breakfast And Scoff Leftover Takeaway: Research Reveals Brits' Bad Breakfast Habits
New research has revealed that over a third of Brits have eaten leftover takeaway for breakfast, according to a survey commissioned by new breakfast drink Up&Go.
Despite knowing the importance of a nutritious kick-start, many people have unhealthy breakfast habits. With the growing trend for the bulletproof breakfast (black coffee with butter) it is perhaps no surprise that half of all Brits forgo food for coffee in the mornings.
However more worryingly over a third of those surveyed have eaten chocolate or crisps for breakfast and 25% get their morning boost from energy drinks.
While it's heralded as the most important meal of the day 46% of Brits still say it is the meal they are most likely to miss, with 60% admitting to skipping breakfast at least once a week.
It's not just breakfast Brits will skip, with over 20% of Brits prepared to go without a shower and a shocking 10% willing to not brush their teeth for an extra ten minutes in bed in the morning.
The Scots (28%) and the Irish (30%) are the biggest offenders on skipping the shower whilst those from Yorkshire (13%) are the most likely to dodge the toothbrush.
Our modern lifestyles mean that sitting down to breakfast is becoming a thing of the past, with 40% of people eating breakfast away from the kitchen table and bizarrely 2% of us even admitting to eating breakfast whilst on the loo!
Breakfast is no longer something to ponder over but something to fit in whilst we multi task our lives, with 40% of people surfing the internet or checking their social media whilst eating breakfast and 56% of Millenials (16-20) focusing on logging on rather than filling up.
Up&Go, Australia's number one breakfast, is specifically designed for busy mornings when you might be tempted to skip. The awesome, nutritious breakfast in a convenient drink is packed with all the protein, calcium and fibre of a bowl of cereal and milk making it perfect for busy lives.
Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton says, “There's no denying that a good breakfast sets you up for the day but for many people, it's simply not practical. I wasn't surprised that the survey found that over a third of 16-20 year olds admitted eating leftover takeaway from breakfast. I've got fast-growing teenagers at home and unless they can throw something in their backpack, breakfast often won't happen or they may replace it with a less healthy alternative. I am keen for them to hit some of their nutritional targets at the beginning of the day and Up&Go, which contains wholegrain oats, sustaining protein and is a great source of calcium, ticks many boxes.”
Up&Go's UK Marketing Director Rosie Foster-Carter says, “With 40% of people consuming breakfast away from the kitchen table we understand that not everyone has time to sit down at home for breakfast. Up&Go provides these busy people with a nutritious and convenient option giving them the freedom in the morning's to make the most of their day.”
Available in three delicious flavours, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, Up&Go is available in the cereal aisle of major supermarkets now, with an RRP of £1.39 per carton. So ensure you and your family are ready to make the most of the day and get Up&Go!
The latest grocery share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks ending 1 March 2015, show that deflation has reached a new low of -1.6% as price competition between the supermarkets continues to impact the market.
Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “A combination of lower general inflation and the grocery price war has saved shoppers £400 million in the past 12 weeks, with deflation driven to a record low of -1.6%. All of the major supermarkets are cutting prices to win shoppers, especially within everyday staples such as eggs, vegetables and milk. Retailers are focusing their efforts on simple price cuts rather than complicated ‘multibuy’ deals.
“Among the big four supermarkets Tesco has been the standout retailer. It has posted its strongest performance in 18 months with sales up 1.1% compared with a difficult 2014. Increasing sales have helped Tesco arrest its falling market share, which is down just 0.1 percentage point compared with last year. This resurgence has impacted Asda which competes for many of the same shoppers as Tesco. Asda’s sales are down by 2.1%, taking its market share to 17.0%. Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both grew behind the market average with sales falling by 0.4% and 0.5% respectively.”
Aldi has continued to grow well ahead of the market with sales up 19.3% compared with a year ago. This is Aldi’s slowest rate of growth since June 2011, but it was enough to take the discount retailer to a new record market share of 5.0%. Fellow German supermarket Lidl also performed well, with growth of 13.6% increasing share to 3.5%.
Sales at Waitrose increased by 4.9% in the latest period. The premium grocer is selling more products on promotion than it has done historically, in an effort to be more price competitive. Waitrose’s market share has remained at its highest level with 5.2%, up 0.2 percentage points.