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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Nutrition and health claims on foods

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
B420  Biomedical sciences  Nutrition 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Keywords
food labelling, nutrition claims, health claims, market, consumer understanding, nutrient profiles
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (7)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08187  PhD Antonija Holcman  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  401 
2.  08405  PhD Marija Klopčič  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  721 
3.  22463  PhD Anita Kušar  Plant production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  108 
4.  06832  PhD Jurij Pohar  Animal production  Researcher  2011 - 2013  212 
5.  24300  PhD Igor Pravst  Public health (occupational safety)  Head  2011 - 2013  317 
6.  09178  PhD Janko Žmitek  Pharmacy  Researcher  2011 - 2013  297 
7.  24278  PhD Katja Žmitek  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2011 - 2013  167 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,306 
2.  2885  VIST - Faculty of Applied Sciences  Ljubljana  2288591  785 
3.  3018  NUTRITION INSTITUTE  Ljubljana  3609081000  492 
Abstract
The use of nutrition and health claims on food stuffs is a critical issue as consumers tend to consider such foods as beneficial to their health and are therefore willing to pay more for them. On the other hand there are risks that producers might try to mislead the consumer by the inappropriate use of claims. In addition, the use of the claims can contribute to public health risks if it leads to the excessive use of certain food stuffs, especially when the consumers replace foods with an otherwise good nutritional composition.   The use claims in the EU is regulated by Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European parliament and of the Council on nutrition and health claims made on foods. “Claim” means any message or representation, which is not mandatory under legislation, including pictorial, graphic or symbolic representation, in any form, which states, suggests or implies that a food has particular characteristics. Claim must not be misleading for the consumer. Until the acceptation of the Community Register, claims which were used on EU markets before the acceptance of the regulation, can stay on the market, but they should meet general principles of the regulation. The acceptance of list of the permitted general function claims into the Community Register is in the final stage as the European Food Safety Authority is finishing the scientific evaluation of the majority of such claims until August 2011.   The proposed project will research the use of the nutrition and health claims on the food stuffs in Slovenia with the method of sampling at the points of sale. The sampling will be performed in stores of different retail chains (hypermarket, supermarket, discount store) and will include at least 5,000 pre-packed foods. We will research the types of claims appearing on different food stuffs categories and the scope of the usage of the claims. In addition we will check whether these products meet the conditions for the use of the claims and if their usage is misleading for the consumer. The evaluation will take into account the aspect of consumers' understanding of the claim. Furthermore, we will research is the use of claims correlates with the nutritional profile of the products. The results of the study will be compared with results available from other countries. Chemical composition of some food categories on which claims are frequently uses will be determined to investigate whether conditions for use of claims are met. Additionally we will study the consumers' understanding of claims and how the use of claims effects consumers' buying decisions in relation to nutrient profiles. The regulation in Article 27 requires preparation of a report on the application of the regulation, in particular on the evolution of the market in foods in respect of which nutrition or health claims are made and on the consumers' understanding of claims. The results of the proposed project will be important for the preparation of such report, as Slovenia does not have such data yet. The results of the proposed project will also provide important guidelines to food inspection authorities and enable them to target those categories of foods and claims which will prove the most problematic.
Significance for science
Within the project, we have researched the extent of nutrition and health claims usage on food products available in Slovenia. We used innovative research methods, including linking the information of foodstuff availability and their composition and information of food sales, to evaluate consumers’ exposure to functional foods in stores as well as in home environment. Such approach has not yet been used and signifies important contribution to science in the field of public health and nutrition. The results of study will enable across time and international comparisons in relation to availability of functional foods. Within this research project the influence of nutrition/health claims presence on disguising potentially unfavourable nutrition profile of food product was evaluated; research was done using conjoint methodology and yoghurt as a base product. The results show the importance of yoghurt’s nutritional composition for consumer and present an important contribution to science in the field of consumer behaviour and consumer's purchase decisions. The research in the field of the project continues even after its end, namely: - by young researcher Krista Miklavec, - by two PhD students, funded by non-ARRS sources, - within the CLYMBOL project, financed by FP7, - within the REDICLAIM project, financed by FP7.
Significance for the country
As part of the project, we evaluated usage of nutrition and health claims within chosen food categories on Slovenian market and researched their influence on consumer. Results of this research are important in means of ensuring food safety/security and will help to provide quality and safe food for consumer. The project has opened new research field in Slovenia and enabled participating researches to collaborate in international consortiums, through which they have successfully applied to major research tenders. The result of this kind of activities are two FP7 project that started in years 2012 (CLYMBOL) and 2013 (REDICLAIM). The results of the research project will be used for strategic decisions, particularly in food policy and in work plan of food authorities. The research introduces important standpoints that inspection services can apply as well. Based on the results of our study authorities can efficiently those target food categories and type of claims, where most problems were observed. This is particularly important for assuring safety in food chain. Results of the project Will also serve as a basis for tracking food market development; this was not possible until now. The results of this research are also important for evaluating the influence of implementing nutritional profiles, as foresaw the Regulation (ES) 1924/2006.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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