Topic: Effects of Package Design on Consumer Expectations of Food Product Healthiness
During the last decades in food consumption have been observed several trends that have to do with changes in social and economic environment as well as in lifestyle. The working patterns, the increased employment of women, the lack of time, the income growth and several other factors led to the trend for fast food, convenience foods and food out of home (Petzoldt, Joiko & Menrad 2008). But the same time for many decades now, the citizens of Western developed countries have moved away from primary production and they procure the necessary food from supermarkets grocery stores ...view middle of the document...
Actions to further improve healthy eating have followed two major avenues. The first, and more traditional one, has focused on providing information about what constitutes healthy eating. Promotion efforts have created awareness and understanding of healthy eating: to eat a varied diet, more fruit, vegetables and fish and less fatty and sugary food, calories and salt. The second, and more recent one, comprises attempts to improve the healthiness of products.
This is done by either adding functional components or removing dysfunctional ones, resulting in functional food products, or by adding or reducing the content of certain nutrients, such as reducing fat or sugar. These products have been marketed on their health benefits using nutrient content claims or health claims to the extent possible under the legal constraints and have experienced high growth rates (Bech-Larsen & Grunert 2003; Bech-Larsen & Scholderer 2007; Chrysochou et al. 2010).
Therefore consumers are not only aware about the composition of a healthy diet but also can find on the shelves of supermarkets plenty packaged food products that claim they can improve consumers’ health in various ways. As the factor “health” has become very important for the diet of modern consumers, food companies are asked to meet this need. So the competition around the factor “health” is becoming more and more intense among food manufacturers.
Marketers of food companies are asked to overcome this competition using every possible marketing tool and trying to create the best possible marketing mix. They have to pass to the consumers the message of how healthy is their food product. Among other means to communicate this message is the food package itself. Packing is a communication device providing details about the product, including price, contents, ingredients and nutritional value as well as cooking instructions and recommended use by dates (Ahmed, Ahmed & Salman 2005), (the role of food package is going to be discussed more analytically in the next chapter). The aim of the of the communication functions of packing is to inform the consumers about the product it contains and assist them in making their decisions carefully. An example of such significant information is food labeling. The trend towards healthier eating has highlighted the importance of labeling, which allows consumers the opportunity to cautiously consider alternatives and make informed food choices. Package layout is important for information presentation. However, packaging information can create confusion by conveying either too much information or misleading and inaccurate information (Silayoi & Speece 2007). To maximize the information carried on products, manufacturers often use very small fonts and very dense writing styles. This reduces readability and sometimes causes confusion.
To overcome this problem food industry and the regulation authorities have suggested that nutritional information panels should...