Front-of-package (FOP) claims found to have nothing to do with the actual nutritional content of breakfast cereals
A closer look at their lists of ingredients reveals that most breakfast cereals are made from processed grains and have a high sugar content. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing found that food packaging claims have little to no correlation to the cereal’s actual nutritional content.
The research was a combination of four studies, each evaluating different aspects of food claims, nutritional content, and how these affect consumers’ buying habits. Researchers from the US found that people are more likely to buy food based on the presence of a positive ingredient, rather than the absence of a negative one.
Moreover, researchers pointed out that consumers are easily influenced by these food claims and suggested the need for public policy changes.
Don’t rely on food claims alone
The packaging of food products changes according to the trends of consumers’ tastes. Today, there is a cry for healthier foods. The food packaging complies, but the list of ingredients says otherwise.
Breakfast cereals are particularly infamous for their packaging. Despite their poor nutritional quality, their food packaging contains a range of nutritional food claims. (Related: Obesity alert: Kids consume 10 pounds of sugar a year in their breakfast cereal.)
Despite calls to check the list of ingredients, consumers still mostly rely on the front packaging. The researchers wanted to examine the relationship between front-of-package (FOP) claims and consumer taste. They took a closer look into the factors driving each claim and how these factors affected one another.