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Food labels and symbols

How labelling of food products could improve the healthy behaviour of Dutch society

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Food labels and symbols

How labelling of food products could improve the healthy behaviour of Dutch society

Rechten: Alle rechten voorbehouden

Samenvatting

The world is changing due to the increasing prosperity and the large variety of products offered in
the supermarkets. With the knowledge gained in the nutritional values of food, more and more
information about healthy and unhealthy food became available. The lifestyle or healthy behaviour of
people transformed over the years, and led to a growing number of obese people in the Netherlands.
Consumers should be informed appropriately, to guide them in the right direction.
The research for this dissertation was framed by desk and field research to draw up
recommendations and conclusions. Desk research was concerned with a literature study, based upon
existing studies. Field research was carried out in the form of an online survey and four interviews, to
evaluate consumer shopping behaviour in supermarkets and to outline how consumers respond to
additional labelling methods.
Various parties had reasons and concerns to inform consumers about healthy food and a healthy
lifestyle, in times of writing this dissertation. The Dutch government had a duty to protect the consumer.
The selling of food products, in the most efficient way, was for producers and retailers of great
importance. Consumers’ Associations stood up for consumer rights, and health and nutrition agencies
had a goal to improve the population’s health. The different concerns of the various parties were
communicated to consumers. The result was an overload of data to which consumers were being
exposed on a daily basis, either in the form of food labelling, via the Internet, or via the news. Consumers
became confused and were no longer interested in the overkill of information. Nevertheless, the interest
of consumers in obtaining healthy behaviour and eating healthy food grew. Certain information on the
labels of food products became mandatory with the establishment of EU food labelling regulations. Any
additional forms of food labelling were allowed to be initiated by Member States to inform consumers
about the healthiness of a product or its nutritional values, as long as it was adopted in national law and
did not hinder the free movement of goods.
The Dutch government could learn from practices used by other Member States, to advise the
population and to reduce the overload of information. Education is not enough. A consistent way of
informing people via multiple channels, will move the Dutch society towards a healthy lifestyle. It requires
co-operation between all parties involved, but only if it is controlled by governmental authorities.

Toon meer
OrganisatieDe Haagse Hogeschool
AfdelingMO Europese Studies / European Studies
Jaar2016
TypeBachelor
TaalEngels

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