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The impact of positive and reduction health claims on consumers’ food choices

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The impact of nutrition and health claims (NHCs) on consumers is unclear, and research in this field has provided incongruent results. By exploring the role of carrier products and claim types together with consumer characteristics this study sought to shed light on some of these contradictory results. Based on 1494 participants in an online choice experiment and portion-size experiment, the results revealed that the impact of NHCs on consumers is dependent on product and claim type, as well as consumer characteristics of perceived reward, compensatory beliefs, health motivation, subjective nutritional knowledge and weight-goals. In general, the choice of products carrying a claim was related to an increased perceived healthiness, health interest in food and a sense of reward associated with NHCs, but negatively related to subjective nutritional knowledge. Especially products perceived unhealthy with reduction claims were related to compensatory beliefs about being able to eat more of the claimed product. However, while compensatory beliefs seemed to have a small but consistent role in resulting in higher portion sizes, NHCs only played a minor role at best in portion-size decisions. Overall, the results suggest that consumer perceptions of types of claims and products need to be verified case-by-case, but some commonalities seem to exist when categorizing products according to their perceived healthiness and type of claims. Furthermore, consumers who are concerned about weight or are high in compensatory beliefs may be especially responsive to nutrition claims, while nutritional knowledge may act as a barrier against potential health halos associated with claims.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104526
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Compensatory beliefs, Consumer, Health claims, Nutrition claims, Reward

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