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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Symbols on foods as a tool to help consumers make healthy food choices

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.08.00  Medical sciences  Public health (occupational safety)   

Code Science Field
B420  Biomedical sciences  Nutrition 

Code Science Field
3.03  Medical and Health Sciences  Health sciences 
Keywords
symbols on foods, labelling, nutrient profile model, food preferences, food reformulation, formulation, consumer, nutrition, publlic health
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (8)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  08405  PhD Marija Klopčič  Animal production  Researcher  2015 - 2017  721 
2.  22463  PhD Anita Kušar  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2017  108 
3.  36048  PhD Živa Lavriša  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2015 - 2017  49 
4.  36493  PhD Krista Miklavec  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2015 - 2017  20 
5.  06832  PhD Jurij Pohar  Animal production  Researcher  2015 - 2017  212 
6.  24300  PhD Igor Pravst  Public health (occupational safety)  Head  2015 - 2017  317 
7.  15495  PhD Vesna Žabkar  Economics  Researcher  2015 - 2017  922 
8.  24278  PhD Katja Žmitek  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2015 - 2017  167 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,279 
2.  0584  University of Ljubljana, School of Economics and Business (SEB)  Ljubljana  1626922  42,855 
3.  3018  NUTRITION INSTITUTE  Ljubljana  3609081000  492 
Abstract
Nutrition is an important external factor in the development of several non-communicable diseases and simultaneously a protective factor with positive effects on our health. In relation to this, the consumer’s perception and recognition of healthier foods is very significant. It is the consumer’s right to have credible information provided in order to determine whether certain food is good for her/him, what the food is composed of and whether the food is healthy. There are two primary aspects of the consumer choice environment: (a) the extent of the availability of product information; and (b) the prior experience consumers have with products. In addition, there are finite limits on the amount of information consumers can effectively use. Making healthy food choices takes this a step further since it requires some additional restrictions. For that reason, we need to seek different possibilities to improve consumers’ food choices and their diet in the long term. One option is simplified labels which have been shown to enable a quicker choice of healthier food products. Health symbols are a good example of a food-labelling element which can help consumers when making food choices. Studying and implementing symbols to help simplify complex information has become an important part of food and nutrition research related to consumers’ food choice and eating habits. Making healthy food choices easier and the possibility of enforcing the national scheme for easier recognition and choice of healthy foods is presented as part of the Resolution on the national programme on nutrition and physical activity for health 2015–2025. The project addresses the challenges that need to be resolved in order to establish additional voluntary food labelling on national level that will (a) enable healthier food choices and (b) encourage the food industry to reformulate food products, which would increase the availability of healthy food products in the food supply. The project is divided into four sections: The first work package is focused on research into the symbols on food products as a tool for labelling healthy foods. We will evaluate the nutritional composition of foods available on the market that are labelled with nutrition or health symbols and compare them with foods that do not carry such symbols. This will provide information about whether the existing system for granting such symbols supports public health. In addition, we will evaluate how strict the criteria are of different nutrient profile models on a representative sample of pre-packed foods available on the Slovenian market. This will enable modelling and an evaluation of the influence the proposed national scheme for voluntary labelling might have on the food supply. In the second work package, we will evaluate consumers’ response to symbols that appear on foods. The comprehension of nonverbal symbolic signs requires a minimum level of cognitive effort since simplified food labels can present complex nutrition information in a simpler and easier way. In the last few years, many new food symbols have emerged, mainly simple symbols labelling foods as healthier. A version of the latter that is also present in Slovenia is known as the Symbol of Protective Food (hereinafter: SPF). We will research recognition and understanding of the SPF among Slovenian consumers and what they associate with it. The results will help policymakers decide whether this scheme is a valuable starting point for the development of the national voluntary food labelling scheme, as planned in the national resolution on nutrition. Further, we will evaluate which symbols and accompanying claims used on healthier foods are preferred by consumers. In the third work package, we will investigate the typology of the users of nutrient profiling and voluntary food labelling, focusing on food business operators. We will look into understanding of the concept of nutrition profiling and of labelling foods with
Significance for science
Relevantnost predlaganega projekta glede na težišča, cilje in poudarke iz tega razpisa Predlagani projekt v celoti naslavlja cilje razpisa v tematskem sklopu 1.1 (Podpora in oblikovanje ter izvajanje sektorskih in medsektorskih politik s področja krepitve zdravja) in temi 1.1.1 (Priprava orodja - ustrezno dodatno označevanje - za boljše razumevanje prehranskih informacij o živilih): (a) potrošnikom omogočiti lažjo izbiro zdravju koristnih živil, in (b) osveščanje potrošnikov s primernim označevanjem živil ter posredno vplivati na izboljšanje ponudbe zdravju koristih izbir. Ta cilja sta tudi skladna s cilji Resolucije o nacionalnem programu o prehrani in telesni dejavnosti za zdravje 2015 – 2025 (Ministrstvo za zdravje RS, 2015). V okviru predlaganega projekta bo raziskan potencial obstoječe sheme SVŽ, testirani bodo različni modeli dodatnega označevanja, hkrati pa bodo raziskane tudi potrebe gospodarstva. Rezultati predlaganega projekta bodo neposredno uporabljivi kot podlaga za odločitve o oblikovanju politik in za prenos znanja v prakso. Pomen za razvoj znanosti oziroma stroke Projekt bo pomembno vplival na razvoj znanosti na področju prehrane in javnega zdravja. V okviru projekta bodo zbrani podatki o prehranski sestavi in označevanju živil (N1.1, N1.2), ki bodo pomembni vhodni podatki za nadaljnje raziskave na področju javnega zdravja. Z inovativnim pristopom vrednotenja asociacij potrošnikov (N2.1) bomo prispevali tudi k razvoju novih metodologij na področju potrošnikovega razumevanja simbolov na živilih. Raziskave v okviru projekta bodo usmerjene tudi v raziskovanje preferenc potrošnikov (N2.2) in segmentacijo nosilcev živilske dejavnosti (N3.2), kar bo pomembno pri vrednotenju potreb potrošnikov, ter pri razumevanju z označevanjem živil povezanih strateških odločitev v živilskih podjetjih. Vse to bo podpiralo razvoj novih orodij (ustreznega dodatnega označevanja), ki bodo potrošnikom olajšali razumevanje prehranskih informacij o živilih in izbor živil z ugodno prehransko sestavo.
Significance for the country
Potencialni vpliv, ki ga bodo imeli rezultati projekta na povečanje konkurenčnosti Slovenije, skladno z vsebino razpisa Poleg velikega pomena za državo, bo imel projekt ugoden neposreden vpliv na nacionalno gospodarstvo, predvsem na živilsko-pridelovalno industrijo. Rezultati projekta bodo spodbujali nosilce živilske dejavnosti k reformulaciji in razvoju živil z izboljšano prehransko sestavo, kar bo bistveno izboljšalo njihovo konkurenčnost, tako na domačem kot mednarodnem tržišču. Domača živilska industrija je tudi bolj prilagodljiva z vidika razvoja označb živil na domačem tržišču, kar pomeni da bo enostavneje implementirala dodatno označevanje živil, kar lahko povzroči pomembno prednost pred velikimi mednarodnimi korporacijami, ki imajo manjšo možnost prilagajanja embalaže živil posameznim tržiščem. To bo dodatno okrepilo domače živilsko-predelovalne industrije v Sloveniji, kar bo imelo širše ugodne vplive, vključno z večjim gospodarskim razvojem, socialno kohezivnostjo in trajnostnim razvojem.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, 2016, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2016, final report
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