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Public Health. 2015 Mar;129(3):226-36. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.12.003. Epub 2015 Feb 27.

Information search behaviour, understanding and use of nutrition labeling by residents of Madrid, Spain.

Author information

1
National School of Public Health, Carlos III Institute of Health, Calle Monforte de Lemos, 5, ES-28029 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: lprieto@isciii.es.
2
National School of Public Health, Carlos III Institute of Health, Calle Monforte de Lemos, 5, ES-28029 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: mroyo@isciii.es.
3
National School of Public Health, Carlos III Institute of Health, Calle Monforte de Lemos, 5, ES-28029 Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: nines@isciii.es.

Abstract

OBJETIVES:

To describe the information search behaviour, comprehension level, and use of nutritional labeling by consumers according to sociodemographic characteristics.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study of consumers recruited in five stores of the main supermarket chains in Madrid: a random sample of 299 consumers (response rate: 80.6%).

METHODS:

Interviewers collected information about the information search behaviour, comprehension, and use of nutritional labeling using a questionnaire designed for this purpose. Analyses examined the frequency of the variables of interest. Differences were tested using the Chi-square statistic.

RESULTS:

In this sample, 38.8% of consumers regularly read the nutritional labeling before making a purchase (45% of women vs 30% in men; P = 0.03) and the most common reason reported was choosing healthier products (81.3%). The proportion of people who were interested in additives and fats was the higher, (55% and 50%, respectively). Lack of time (38.9%), lack of interest (27.1%), and reading difficulties (18.1%) were the most common reasons given for not reading labels. Over half (52.4%) of consumers reported completely understanding the nutritional information on labels and 20.5% reported using such information for dietary planning.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reported information search behaviour, comprehension, and use of nutritional labeling were relatively high among consumers of the study, and their main goal was picking healthier products. However, not only are there still barriers to reading the information, but also the information most relevant to health is not always read or understood. Thus, interventions to increase nutritional labeling comprehension and use are required in order to facilitate the making of healthier choices by consumers.

KEYWORDS:

Comprehension of food labeling; Consumers; Food labels; Interest in food labeling; Nutrition labeling

PMID:
25731130
DOI:
10.1016/j.puhe.2014.12.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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