• HealthClaimsUnpacked

Who else cares about health claims?

Simon Steenson, British Nutrition Foundation

We all know that parents and carers play the most important role in deciding which foods young children do (and don't) eat, and that is especially true when it comes to mothers. But which health claims are likely to catch the eye of busy parents, and do parents trust these claims?

Health claims that refer to children's development are grouped into a special category and include claims related to some key nutrients that are essential for children to grow up healthily. Below are some examples that you might see on food labels in the supermarket:

  • Calcium and vitamin D are needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.

  • Iodine contributes to the normal growth of children.

  • Iron contributes to normal cognitive development of children.

  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) maternal intake contributes to the normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants. (DHA is a type of omega 3 fat)

One of the problems is that parents say they do not trust the health claims that they see on products, as we found in the results of our consumer focus groups last year. An opinion poll from our own social media campaign also revealed that 8 out of 10 people (including parents) believed that the claims on food labels were "just marketing", and not based on sound scientific evidence.

The Health Claims Unpacked online toolkit aims to get the bottom of the reasons for this mistrust among parents (and other consumers) to see if there are better ways to communicate health claims.

Are you a parent in charge of shopping for your family? Do you trust the claims you see on packaging? Why (or why not)? Please get in touch using the Contact Us link above to let us know about your experiences of health claims.

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This activity has received funding from EIT Food, the innovation community on Food of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the EU, under the Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.