News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Current food labelling not good enough

Current food labelling not good enough
 
January 12, 2014
 
Nutritional food labels are not as effective as once thought and could be impacting on the health of New Zealanders, University of Canterbury (UC) research has discovered.
 
Consumers react better to labels which provide relatable, transparent information that is easily converted into exercise expenditure or clearly states which products are good and which are bad.
 
The UC marketing study collected a total of 591 online responses. Participants were given an identical survey, only the way in which the nutritional information was communicated, differed.
 
Postgraduate student Michelle Bouton says the items labels included walking and running labels which stated how many minutes of exercise were needed to burn off the product.
 
``We also included a star system which displayed one, two or three stars on the product, depending on how many calories were in it. A traffic light label was divided into five categories of the main nutritional components and coloured red (bad), orange (moderate) or green (good).
 
``Our findings showed that the current daily intake system was so insignificant that only 23 percent of participants recalled seeing it. This was alarmingly low compared to the recall rate of the running (89 percent), walking (93 percent) and traffic light label (70 percent).
 
``Our study found that those who were presented with the walking label were most likely to make healthier consumption choices, regardless of their level of preventive health behavior.
 
``Therefore, consumers who reported to be unhealthier were likely to modify their current negative behaviour and exercise, select a healthier alternative or avoid the unhealthy product entirely when told they would need to briskly walk for one hour and 41 minutes to burn off the product.
 
``The traffic light system was found to be effective in deterring consumers from unhealthy foods, while also encouraging them to consume healthy products.
 
``Although the running label was found to be effective with participants who reported a healthy lifestyle, it was found to be ineffective with those who were yet to adopt a healthy lifestyle. A consumer who does not actively exercise is less likely to start running than a consumer who is already active.’’
 
Associate Professor Ekant Veer, who supervised the study, says the findings differ from what people initially thought would be an effective communication method.
 
``Information and numeric figures are ineffective at aiding consumers with low levels of health literacy to make healthy consumption choices. Images and colours are found to be much more effective and understandable forms of communication.
 
``As the overwhelmingly high obesity rates in New Zealand continue to climb, something needs to be done to improve the health of our society. This information provides valuable insight into understanding consumption behaviours’ associated to food labels. New Zealand still has one of the highest obesity rates in the world.’’

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Max Rashbrooke: Review - The NZSO And Nature

This was a lovely, varied concert with an obvious theme based on the natural world. It kicked off with Mendelssohn's sparkling Hebrides Overture, which had a wonderfully taut spring right from the start, and great colour from the woodwinds, especially the clarinets. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Prue Hyman On ‘Hopes Dashed?’

For Scoop Review of Books, Alison McCulloch interviewed Prue Hyman about her new book, part of the BWB Texts series, Hopes Dashed? The Economics of Gender Inequality More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news