Photo by juliegomoll (Grocery shopping at the HyperMart in Cairo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Italian Consumers Split on Nutritional & Health Claims of Diets

You may have read a lot about the nutritional and health claims of the Mediterranean diet (and other diets for that matter) touted by researchers, bloggers, journalists, and many others. The big question becomes: is anyone even listening?

A new paper from a group of researchers in Italy aimed to address this question, specifically focusing on whether these nutritional and

Photo by juliegomoll (Grocery shopping at the HyperMart in Cairo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by juliegomoll (Grocery shopping at the HyperMart in Cairo) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
health claims are actually of interest to consumers, and if they are, which types of consumers are interested.

This was a relatively small pilot study, doing face-to-face interviews with 240 individuals who were in charge of the grocery shopping for their household in Milan, Italy.

Important Findings:

  • 40% of consumers were interested in the nutrition claims of various diets (including the Mediterranean diet), with a greater focus on the vitamin content of the diets.
  • 51% of consumers were interested in the health claims of various diets (including the Mediterranean diet), with no focus on any one particular health benefit over another.
  • Consumers interested in nutrition claims were most focused on the overall well-being of the household.
  • Consumers interested in nutrition claims were mainly women, families with young children, and individuals with greater knowledge of nutrition in general.
  • Consumers interested in health claims were older, had limited income, had health issues (specifically, heart problems), and were considered to be the most vulnerable part of the population.

While this was just a small study, it provides a glimpse into how

Photo by Karen (originally posted to Flickr as Weekly shopping) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Karen (originally posted to Flickr as Weekly shopping) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
interested Italian consumers actually are in the nutritional and health claims make for various diets. This information could be used for streamlining certain marketing campaigns, and could also be a good launching point for larger studies.

Source:

Cavaliere, A., Ricci, E.C., and Banterle, A. 2015. Nutrition and health claims: Who is Interested? An empirical analysis of consumer preferences in Italy. Food Quality and Preference 41: 44-51.