Legislators and consumers do not have the same interpretation of labeling
Although the European Union has mediated between consumers and food businesses through the standard so that the information on product labels is visible and understandable, according to a study led by five European countries, the interpretation of the labeling that Users realize about the label statements is not entirely correct.
Said study on the interpretation of labeling, published by the magazine “Nutrients” and prepared by researchers from Slovenia and Germany, the Center for Agrifood Research and Technology of Aragon, the University of Saarlandes (Holland), and the universities of Oxford and Surrey (Kingdom United), was based on the information provided by 100 individuals.
The European Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims in foods establishes what practices should be used by food companies to provide consumers with all the necessary information regarding the characteristics of the product on the packaging.
“There is a lack of evidence that consumers are able to understand the statements established by this regulatory framework,” says the study after corroborating that average consumers have trouble differentiating between a nutritional claim and a health claim, in addition to not interpreting them. as legislators think. For this reason, the project proposed the development of a framework of declarations of nutritional and healthy properties that favors the understanding of said information, taking into account how consumers interpret it. On the other hand, the study on the interpretation of labeling revealed the importance of labeling information when purchasing a food product. 51% of respondents said they took it into account “very often,” while 58% said they had it “sometimes”.
Only 1% stated that “never” used it as a purchase argument. Based on how the participants categorized and understood the various declarations of nutritional and healthy properties indicated, the researchers proposed a typology based on three key aspects:
- Familiarity with the nutrient, substance or food indicated in the claim.
When the user is more familiar with the nutrient, substance or food indicated in the declaration, less value will be given to such information as it knows its benefits.
- Type of declaration in terms of its simplicity/complexity.
Users understand short and simple statements better than long and detailed ones, even without knowing the nutrient, food or substance in question. They also have difficulty interpreting the scientific or regulatory language.
- Relevance of the claim, either at a personal or group level.
The more relevant a statement is perceived, the better it will be understood and the more likely it will be for you to end up buying the product. Regardless of the interpretation of the labeling, it is very important to avoid sanctions and restrictive marketing measures, that the label complies with all regulations.
At LegaleGo, we are specialists in that each label complies with the standard.