Department of Management

Liisa Lähteenmäki

Consumers’ perception of symbols and health claims as health-related label messages: A cross-cultural study

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • E. Carrillo, Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain
  • S. Fiszman, Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain
  • Liisa Lähteenmäki
  • P. Varela, Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Spain
The package is the first contact between the food and the consumer and an
excellent vehicle for communication with the consumer. Visual cues (symbols)
on the package can be used to communicate health-related information.
Although EU legislation provides for the use of symbols, there could be a still
undiscovered or unquantified gap between the consumers’ perception of some
symbols and how much these symbols appeal and convince. The objective of
this research was to study the perception of symbols and their relative
importance, combined with verbal health claims, in perceptions of the product’s
appeal and convincingness in two countries, one Mediterranean (Spain) and the
other Scandinavian (Denmark). Four symbols were employed in the study: (1)
heart-plus-stethoscope, (2) olives (a symbol often used in Spain but not so
much in Denmark), and two not directly linked to food products: (3) active
person (a person running towards the sun), and (4) gears. Perceptions of these
symbols were studied through word association, free listing and conjoint
analysis. Three verbal health claims were presented as either benefits or risks
in combination with the images. The results showed that the overall idea of the
symbols perceived by the participants was similar in both countries but the
culture influenced the connotations attached to the symbols. In addition, the
symbols on the packaging were found to be more important than the verbal
information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Research International
Volume62
Pages (from-to)653-661
Number of pages9
ISSN0963-9969
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Available online 24 April 2014

    Research areas

  • Food packaging, symbols, nutritional and health claims

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 76182258