Cultural and linguistic differences across EU Member States make it difficult to harmonize on-pack health claims communication in the F&B arena. This is according to the latest update from Health Claims Unpacked, an EU-wide, EIT Food-funded research project founded in 2019.
NutritionInsight catches up with contributing researcher Dr. Chris Ryder as his team continues to investigate the “healthy” versus “normal” debate and how language affects EU enforcement policies.
Ryder is a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading, UK.
Health claim reluctance
Many manufacturers are reluctant to use health claims on-pack to avoid overly complicated references and the differences in how regulation is enforced in different countries. These labeling choices result in consumers receiving less information about the nutritional value of their food.
According to Health Claims Unpacked’s research, cultural ideas about food and eating affect how consumers respond to health claims. In France, for example, the concept of food is largely focused around the pleasure in eating, and so French consumers are less interested in nutrition at this level.