Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A qualitative study of consumer perceptions and use of traffic light food labelling in Ecuador

  • Wilma B Freire (a1), William F Waters (a1), Gabriela Rivas-Mariño (a1), Tien Nguyen (a1) and Patricio Rivas (a1)...
Abstract
Objective

To analyse patterns of knowledge, comprehension, attitudes and practices regarding the traffic light label placed on processed food packages to inform Ecuadorian consumers about levels of added fat, sugar and salt.

Design

Twenty-one focus group discussions organized by age group, sex and place of residence. Interviews with representatives of companies that manufacture or market processed foods. Analysis of regulations and structured observations of processed food labels.

Setting

Cities and towns in Ecuador’s coastal, highland and eastern lowland regions.

Subjects

One hundred and seventy-eight participants in twenty-one focus group discussions and nine key informants.

Results

Focus group participants knew about the traffic light label and understood the information it conveys, but not all changed their attitudes and practices related to the purchase and consumption of processed foods. Children, adolescents and adult males reported using the information infrequently; adolescents interested in health and adult women used the label the most to select products. Representatives of companies that manufacture or market processed foods generally opposed the policy, stating that the information is misleading. Nevertheless, some companies have reduced levels of added fat, sugar or salt in their products.

Conclusions

The traffic light label is an effective tool for conveying complex information. Its potential contribution to reduce consumption of products with high levels of fat, sugar and salt could be enhanced by promoting healthy diets among consumers who have not changed purchasing and consumption behaviour, by placing the label on front panels and by monitoring the production and marketing of processed foods.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      A qualitative study of consumer perceptions and use of traffic light food labelling in Ecuador
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      A qualitative study of consumer perceptions and use of traffic light food labelling in Ecuador
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      A qualitative study of consumer perceptions and use of traffic light food labelling in Ecuador
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email wwaters@usfq.edu.ec
References
Hide All
1. Freire, WB, Ramírez-Luzuriaga, MJ, Belmont, P et al. (2014) Tomo I: Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición ENSANUT-ECU 2012 (Volume I: National Health and Nutrition Survey ENSANUT-ECU 2012). Quito: Ministerio de Salud Pública/Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos.
2. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (2016) Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: a pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19.2 million participants. Lancet 387, 13771396.
3. Krug, EG (2016) Trends in diabetes: sounding the alarm. Lancet 387, 14851486.
4. Chan, M (2013) WHO Director-General addresses health promotion conference. http://www.who.int/dg/speeches/2013/health_promotion_20130610/en/ (accessed May 2016).
5. Kelly, B, Hughes, C, Chapman, K et al. (2009) Consumer testing of the acceptability and effectiveness of front-of-pack food labelling systems for the Australian grocery market. Health Promot Int 24, 120129.
6. Food Standards Agency (2006) Full regulatory impact assessment. http://tna.europarchive.org/20130129064400/http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/signpostingria.pdf (accessed August 2016).
7. Draper, AK, Adamson, AJ, Clegg, S et al. (2013) Front-of-pack nutrition labelling: are multiple formats a problem for consumers? Eur J Public Health 23, 517521.
8. Vasiljevic, M, Pechey, R & Marteau, TM (2015) Making food labels social: the impact of colour of nutritional labels and injunctive norms on perceptions and choice of snack foods. Appetite 91, 5663.
9. Van Kleef, E, Van Trijp, H, Paeps, F et al. (2008) Consumer preferences for front-of-pack calories labelling. Public Health Nutr 11, 203213.
10. Mandle, J, Tugendhaft, A, Michalow, J et al. (2015) Nutrition labelling: a review of research on consumer and industry response in the global South. Glob Health Action 8; available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/gha.v8.25912
11. Campos, S, Doxey, J & Hammond, D (2011) Nutrition labels on pre-packaged foods: a systematic review. Public Health Nutr 14, 14961506.
12. Gonzalez-Zapata, LI, Alvarez-Dardet, C, Ortiz-Moncada, R et al. (2009) Policy options for obesity in Europe: a comparison of public health specialists with other stakeholders. Public Health Nutr 12, 896908.
13. Gracia, A, Loureiro, ML & Nayga, RM (2009) Consumers’ valuation of nutritional information: a choice experiment study. Food Qual Prefer 20, 463471.
14. Van Herpen, E, Seiss, E & van Trijp, HC (2012) The role of familiarity in front-of-pack label evaluation and use: a comparison between the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Food Qual Prefer 26, 2234.
15. Hersey, JC, Wohlgenant, KC, Arsenault, JE et al. (2013) Effects of front-of-package and shelf nutrition labeling systems on consumers. Nutr Rev 71, 114.
16. Hawley, KL, Roberto, CA, Bragg, MA et al. (2013) The science of front-of-package labels. Public Health Nutr 16, 430439.
17. Borgmeier, I & Westenhoefer, J (2009) Impact of different food label formats on healthiness evaluation and food choice of consumers: a randomized-controlled study. BMC Public Health 9, 184.
18. Ecuador (2014) Expedíse el reglamento sanitario sustiutivo de etiquetado de alimentos procesados para el consumo humano (Publish the substitute sanitary regluation for labelling of processed foods for human consumption). Registro Oficial II, 18.
19. Food Standards Agency (2013) Front of pack nutrition labelling: joint response to consultation. http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/consultationresponse/frontofpacklabelling-response.pdf (accessed May 2016).
20. Food Standards Agency (2013) Guide to creating a front of pack (FoP) nutrition label for pre-packed products sold through retail outlets. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/300886/2902158_FoP_Nutrition_2014.pdf (accessed May 2016).
21. Patton, MQ (2002) Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
22. Ulin, PR, Robinson, ET & Tolley, EE (2005) Qualitative Methods in Public Health: A Field Guide for Applied Research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
23. Krueger, RA & Casey, MA (2000) Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
24. Strauss, A & Corbin, J (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research: Procedures and Techniques for Developing Grounded Theory, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
25. Peña, M, Montoya, R & Rodríguez, M (2014) La publicidad de productos comestibles en la TV-Ecuador (Advertising of edible products on TV-Ecuador). Rev Inform OPS/OMS (Inform J PAHO/WHO) 32, 4346.
26. Andreyeva, T, Kelly, IR & Harris, JL (2011) Exposure to food advertising on television: associations with children’s fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Econ Hum Biol 8, 221233.
27. Sacks, G, Rayner, M & Swinburn, B (2009) Impact of front-of-pack ‘traffic-light’ nutrition labelling on consumer food purchases in the UK. Health Promot Int 24, 344352.
28. Van Kleef, E & Dabevos, H (2015) The growing role of front-of-pack nutrition profile labeling: a consumer perspective on key issues and controversies. Crit Rev Food Sci Technol 55, 291303.
29. Koen, N, Blaauw, R & Wentzel-Viljoen, E (2016) Food and nutrition labelling: the past, present and the way forward. S Afr J Clin Nutr 29, 1321.
30. Creswell, JW (1998) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
31. Glaser, B & Strauss, A (1967) Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
32. Gobo, G (2004) Sampling, representativeness and generalizability. In Qualitative Research Practice, pp. 435456 [C Seale, G Gobo, JF Gubrium et al., editors]. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Freire supplementary material
Freire supplementary material 1

 Word (19 KB)
19 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed