The impact of consumer confusion on nutrition literacy and subsequent dietary behavior

Lara Spiteri-Cornish, Caroline Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)
241 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of consumer confusion on nutrition knowledge, literacy, and dietary behavior. While previous research largely focuses on understanding why consumers might not respond to healthy eating communications, this paper seeks to uncover the various behavioural responses to such campaigns, particularly those that contravene health communication objectives. Using an interpretive methodology, findings suggest that most participants do respond to health communications by striving to eat healthily, but inadequate nutrition information derived from unreliable sources, flawed baseline nutrition knowledge, and poor nutrition literacy hinder participants’ efforts. Inconsistent, incomplete, and contradictory information leaves many participants feeling confused about how to implement healthy eating habits. Further, a lack of ability to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources of nutrition information means that many participants blame their confusion on policy makers, and express frustration and cynicism toward vague and often contradictory communications. This, in turn, increases participants’ reliance on food adverts, product labels, and other commercial sources of ambiguous yet appealing information. The paper’s theoretical contribution includes a consumer confusion framework for healthy eating, and policy implications highlight that health campaigns seeking to increase consumer awareness of healthy eating are not enough. Policy makers must become the most credible sources of information about healthy eating, and distinguish themselves from competing and unreliable sources of nutrition information.Publisher statement: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Spiteri-Cornish, L. and Moraes, C. (2015) The impact of consumer confusion on nutrition literacy and subsequent dietary behavior. Psychology & Marketing, volume 32 (5): 558–574, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mar.20800. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'


This is the peerreviewed version of the following article: Spiteri-Cornish, L & Moraes, C2015, 'The impact of consumer confusion on nutrition literacy and subsequentdietary behavior' Psychology & Marketing, vol 32, no. 5, pp. 558–574. DOI:10.1002/mar.20800 which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/[10.1002/mar.20800 This article may be used fornon-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions forSelf-Archiving.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558–574
JournalPsychology & Marketing
Volume32
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:
Spiteri-Cornish, L. and Moraes, C. (2015) The impact of consumer confusion on nutrition literacy and subsequent dietary behavior. Psychology & Marketing, volume 32 (5): 558–574, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mar.20800. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'

Keywords

  • nutrition information
  • public health
  • food advertising
  • healthy eating

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