More and more consumers are paying attention to nutritional values when buying food. For some products, the number of calories, sugar and fat content are prominently positioned on the front. This information is voluntary and can be based on a different portion size. If the nutritional values are related to smaller quantities, the food will be bought more. That is the conclusion of an investigation by the University of Göttingen.
The market researchers had evaluated data from more than 1,500 supermarkets in the UK over a period of two years. A total of 61 products were examined, including biscuits and yoghurt. The results were published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.
Apparently, many customers only rate food according to the number of calories specified and do not pay attention to the portion information. According to the scientists, this information is more of a marketing aid for manufacturers than information for consumers. Smaller portion information can mislead buyers and negatively affect eating habits. Because the product is rated "healthier" than it actually is.
Another result was that smaller portions were more likely to be given for "less healthy" products. The scientists conclude that nutritional labeling is used on a voluntary basis for the conscious manipulation of the perceived calorie quantity.
Such information should not be confused with the nutritional table on the back, which will be mandatory for all prepacked foods from December 2016. Seven nutritional information is prescribed based on a fixed portion size of 100 grams or 100 milliliters: the energy content and the contents of fat, saturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, sugar, protein and salt. The nutritional table is already on the back of many products. (Heike Kreutz, aid)