Knowledge of nutrition facts on food labels and their impact on food choices on consumers in Koforidua, Ghana: a case study

Sarah Darkwa

Abstract


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate consumers’ knowledge of food labels and how this knowledge guides their decisions when making purchasing choices with regard to food.

Design: This was a descriptive research design study.

Setting: The setting was the suburb of Koforidua Municipality in the Eastern region of Ghana.

Subjects: One hundred and forty-three customers were observed in store from four randomly sampled supermarkets. One hundred of these customers completed a self-administered questionnaire.

Outcome measures: Measurements included observation and a self-administered questionnaire that elicited information on label-reading habits, attitudes towards health awareness and the influence of food labels on food choices. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Results: Sixty-five of the 100 consumers (54 females and 46 males) who consented to respond to the questionnaire looked at or read food labels before selecting a food to purchase. Seventy-five per cent reported reading the food labels prior to selecting food. This study found that nutrition knowledge had a low to average impact on consumers’ food choices. Half of the consumers who reported reading the food labels did not do so regularly. This could have implications on how often such information is used when purchasing food. Also, only 22% of the study respondents answered correctly when asked to explain “26% RDA (recommended dietary allowance) vitamin A per serving” on a food label, even though 45% of the respondents had a tertiary education.

Conclusion: These findings indicate awareness and knowledge of food labelling which may not always adequately impact on food choices, even though study respondents indicated high awareness and low to average reading of labels prior to purchasing food.

Keywords


food label; nutrition facts; food choices; healthy eating

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S Afr J Clin Nutr: ISSN (Print): 1607-0658, ISSN (Web): 2221-1268


The South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition (SAJCN) is peer reviewed and an approved South African journal for the measurement of research output of public higher education institutions (Department of Education (DE) accredited).

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