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Keywords:

  • health claims;
  • consumer;
  • food label;
  • NLEA

Health claims for foods are permitted in an increasing number of countries, but there are very few studies evaluating their effect on purchase behavior and consumer health. There are significant differences between countries but, in general, consumers see health claims as useful; they prefer short, succinct wording rather than long and complex claims; and they believe that claims should be approved by the government. Consumers view a food as healthier if it carries a health claim and this “halo” effect may discourage them from seeking further nutrition information. Consumers do not clearly distinguish between nutrient content, structure-function, and health claims. There is some evidence that the use of health claims improves the quality of dietary choices and knowledge of diet-disease relationships.