Assessment of knowledge, attitude and use of nutrition information on food labels in Aba, Abia State
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess consumers' knowledge, attitude and use of nutrition information on food
Methodology: A total of 440 randomly approached food shoppers willing to participate in the study were selected from shops in Aba South Local Government Area (LGA) of Abia state, Nigeria. Self-administered questionnaires were used to elicit information on the socioeconomic characteristics, knowledge, attitude and use of nutrition information on food labels. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient and linear regression.
Results: Self-reported use of labels was high (96.6%) among the respondents with about half of them (52.7%) consulting it regularly before making purchases. The commonly sought information on labels was the product expiry date (45.7%) and nutrient information (36.1%). Consumers had more interest in the cholesterol/fat (48%) and sugar (38.6%) content of foods they are purchasing. Good knowledge and attitude were observed in 26.6% and 44.5% of consumers, respectively. Consumers' attitude was significantly associated with nutrition knowledge (r=-0.598;P=0.02) and use of food labels (r=- 0.95;p=0.04). Linear regression analysis showed that marital status had a positive significant effect and educational status had a negative significant effect (p<0.05) on usage of nutrition information on food labels.
Conclusion: The findings indicated that self-reported use of food labels was high; however, lack of nutrition education on other benefits of reading labels aside from the expiry date was observed. Regulatory bodies should put in more effort to adequately sensitize consumers on its importance.
Keywords: Nutrition information, food labels, Abia state