Swedish students' interpretations of food symbols and their perceptions of healthy eating: An exploratory study
2014 (English)In: Appetite, ISSN 0195-6663, E-ISSN 1095-8304, Vol. 82, 29-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study used focus group discussions to investigate how a group of Swedish University students (24 women and five men) interpret symbols with claims about health and/or symbols with information about nutrition. The participants mostly talked about farming methods and food processes when asked about health and nutrition symbols. The Swedish Keyhole was the most familiar symbol to the participants but they had scant knowledge of its meaning. Symbols that were judged to be the most useful in guiding food choices were, according to the participants, symbols showing information about number of calories and/or nutrients. However, the most striking finding is still that the food experts' medical discourse, i.e. the focus on physical health and nutritional effects on the individual body, seems to be inconsistent with the participants' perceptions of healthy eating and risk. The participants rather used what we call an “inauthenticity discourse” where health and risks are judged in relation to farming methods, industrial food production, additives and other aspects of the food that are unknown to the individual. Despite limitations considering the number of participations and their relative homogeneity, these findings contribute to a further understanding of the gap between experts and the public when it comes to perceptions of healthy eating and risks. If this is a broader phenomenon, then we argue that this must be acknowledged if information about health and risk is to be communicated successfully.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 82, 29-35 p.
Food symbols, Consumer perceptions, Healthy eating, Risk, Food production, Inauthenticity discourse
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject Food, Nutrition and Dietetics; Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-228323DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.07.003ISI: 000343385500005PubMedID: 25017131OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-228323DiVA: diva2:733691