Document Detail

How well do Australian shoppers understand energy terms on food labels?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22464021     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
OBJECTIVE: To investigate nutrition literacy among adult grocery buyers regarding energy-related labelling terms on food packaging. DESIGN: Qualitative interviews and quantitative surveys to determine shoppers' understanding of energy terms ('energy', 'calories' and 'kilojoules') and how energy terms affect perceptions of healthiness and intentions to purchase breakfast cereals, muesli bars and frozen meals. SETTING: Individual in-depth interviews and surveys in two metropolitan supermarkets, Sydney, Australia. SUBJECTS: Australian adults (interview n 40, survey n 405) aged 18-79 years. RESULTS: The relationship between energy and perceived healthiness of food varied by product type: higher energy breakfast cereals were perceived to be healthier, while lower energy frozen meals were seen as healthier choices. Likewise, intentions to purchase the higher energy product varied according to product type. The primary reason stated for purchasing higher energy products was for sustained energy. Participants from households of lower socio-economic status were significantly more likely to perceive higher energy products as healthier. From the qualitative interviews, participants expressed uncertainty about their understanding of kilojoules, while only 40 % of participants in intercept surveys correctly answered that kilojoules and calories measured the same thing. CONCLUSIONS: Australian consumers have a poor understanding of energy and kilojoules and tend to perceive higher energy products as healthier and providing sustained energy. This has implications regarding the usefulness of industry front-of-pack labelling initiatives and quick service restaurant menu labelling that provides information on energy content only. Comprehensive and widely communicated education campaigns will be essential to guide consumers towards healthier choices.
Wendy L Watson; Kathy Chapman; Lesley King; Bridget Kelly; Clare Hughes; Jimmy Chun Yu Louie; Jennifer Crawford; Timothy P Gill
Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-3-30
Journal Detail:
Title:  Public health nutrition     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1475-2727     ISO Abbreviation:  -     Publication Date:  2012 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-4-2     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9808463     Medline TA:  Public Health Nutr     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  1-9     Citation Subset:  -    
1Cancer Council NSW, PO Box 572, Kings Cross, NSW 1340, Australia.
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