A statistical analysis on consumers' use of food labels

TS Talagala, CJP Kalukottege

Abstract


Objective: This study attempts to evaluate the consumers’ awareness and use of information provided on food labels in making food choices.

Methods: A structured questionnaire based survey was used for the purpose of the study. A total of 586 respondents were considered for the study. A survey was conducted at supermarkets, retail shops of various sizes in five towns. The geographical locations of the supermarkets, retail shops were chosen with the aim of having the maximum geographical scattering possible and also the maximum socio economic scattering of consumers’ characteristics. Participants were selected based on systematic sampling.

Results: Three distinct consumer groups, based on use of and level of importance assigned to various information printed on food labels were identified through two-step cluster analysis as; high level of use and high level of importance assigned (40.1%), low level of use but high level of importance assigned (35%) and low level of use and low level of importance assigned (24.9%).These three clusters differed significantly with respect to their knowledge level, psychological factors, health related factors and socio-demographic profile.

Conclusions: The results indicate satisfactory level of awareness about different types of information on the food labels displayed on packaged food.

However, usage of such information while making food choices is relatively low. Understanding the consumers’ use of food label information and beliefs as well as the factors that influence these beliefs is crucial for designing effective education campaigns. This is valuable for the government in framing policies regarding food safety and food labeling.


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Proceedings of Annual Scientific Sessions of Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardeneprua, Sri Lanka