Promoting health and sustainability in consumer food choices through labeling

Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant from Special Research Fund (BOF) (2016-2019)

The integration of public health nutrition and environmental sustainability goals is a primary challenge for 21st century food policies with the potential to help consumers adopt healthier and more sustainable eating behavior. One of the major instruments to inform consumers is food labeling, such as nutrition panels, health- and sustainability related symbols and claims.

The overall goal is to determine the role sustainability and health-related information on food labels play in consumer food choices and how this role can be strengthened. Past research focused on the effect of the use of health-related information (including nutritional labeling, health-related symbols and claims) or sustainability labeling on food choice. However, little studies looked at the combination.

With the increasing trend of food policies to integrate sustainability into the nutrition food policies, it is important to study the effect of health-related and sustainability information simultaneously as competition and trade-off might exist in terms of attention, understanding and use of these cues. The attention to, use of and importance of sustainability and health cues on food packages in consumer food choices will be analyzed.

This project will also explore the impact of personal, product and environmental factors on various aspects in consumer decision-making. The project will generate new insights on how to strengthen to effect of combined health and sustainability labelling on food choice. 

Researcher

dr. Ellen Van Loo