What factors determine the use of the nutrition information on the food label when female consumers from Pietermaritzburg select and purchase fat spreads?

  • NL Wiles
  • M Paterson
  • JL Meaker
Keywords: nutrition, food labels, consumers, fat spreads


Objectives: This study set out to determine the following in relation to the nutrition information on the food labels of selected fat spreads: the demographic profile of female consumers using the food label, reasons for food label use and whether the use of the food label leads to the purchase of the selected fat spreads.
Methods: One hundred and fifty women aged 25 to 45 years were chosen using an accidental, non-probability sample of consumers shopping at selected supermarkets in Pietermaritzburg. Consenting subjects were presented with a questionnaire to determine their demographic characteristics as well as their reasons for purchasing the selected fat spreads. Descriptive statistics and principal component analyses were used to analyse the results of this study.
Results: Fifty-five per cent (n = 82) of this study sample reported using the nutrition information label to assist with their purchases and 68% (n = 102) found the nutrition information important when purchasing a new product.
Conclusions: The female consumer most likely to use the nutrition  information on the food label had a tertiary education; was a primary food purchaser; lived with other people; had more money per month to spend on food; and was conscious of choosing the healthier option. Principal component analysis revealed that the purchase of a selected fat spread was influenced by a number of variables reflecting health awareness, the selected fat spread’s marketing, presentation and popularity, and familiarity with and cost awareness of the selected fat spread.