Food shoppers sceptical of marketingStudy shows shoppers are wary of labels

13 January 2006

Shoppers are sceptical when companies use marketing terms such as 'quality', 'home made' and 'real' to describe food products, according to a new survey.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) decided to look at what consumers expected when they saw 13 marketing phrases on packets. These included words like 'traditional', 'premium', 'finest' and 'best'.

But it found that a significant proportion of shoppers were suspicious that all food products are produced by the same manufacturer but just packaged differently.

While around half of consumers felt foods labelled as 'homemade', 'quality' or 'real' should not contain preservatives and other additives, many thought it was likely that they did.

Brand and ingredients

However, the research demonstrated that other pieces of information provided on the label were more influential.

Thirty one per cent of people felt that the brand was the most important piece of information while 25 per cent felt it was the ingredients.

Only six per cent of people claimed that the product descriptor, such as 'natural', 'fresh' or 'pure', was the most important piece of information and only 14 per cent claimed to ever look at this on food packaging.