Korean consumers' perceptions of health/functional food claims according to the strength of scientific evidence

  • Kim, Ji-Yeon (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Woman's University) ;
  • Kang, Eun-Jin (Department of Food and Nutrition and Plant Resources Research Institute, Duksung Women's University) ;
  • Kwon, O-Ran (Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Woman's University) ;
  • Kim, Gun-Hee (Department of Food and Nutrition and Plant Resources Research Institute, Duksung Women's University)
  • Received : 2010.04.22
  • Accepted : 2010.10.15
  • Published : 2010.10.31


In this study, we investigated that consumers could differentiate between levels of claims and clarify how a visual aid influences consumer understanding of the different claim levels. We interviewed 2,000 consumers in 13 shopping malls on their perception of and confidence in different levels of health claims using seven point scales. The average confidence scores given by participants were 4.17 for the probable level and 4.07 for the possible level; the score for the probable level was significantly higher than that for the possible level (P < 0.05). Scores for confidence in claims after reading labels with and without a visual aid were 5.27 and 4.43, respectively; the score for labeling with a visual aid was significantly higher than for labeling without a visual aid (P < 0.01). Our results provide compelling evidence that providing health claims with qualifying language differentiating levels of scientific evidence can help consumers understand the strength of scientific evidence behind those claims. Moreover, when a visual aid was included, consumers perceived the scientific levels more clearly and had greater confidence in their meanings than when a visual aid was not included. Although this result suggests that consumers react differently to different claim levels, it is not yet clear whether consumers understand the variations in the degree of scientific support.


Consumer confidence;consumer perception;health claim;level of scientific evidence;qualifying language


Supported by : Korea Food and Drug Administration


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