Review of Literature
In past few decades,
there has been increased prevalence of non- communicable diseases globally,
most of the diseases are the result of poor nutritional status (L Haing et al.,
Organization(WHO) and Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggests
that the risk of non- communicable diseases can be prevented by consuming
nutrient dense diet that limits the intake of dietary fat, trans fat,
cholesterol and sodium. The consumer must have access to such nutritional
information which helps them making wise decisions regarding healthy food choices. Tool for
providing such nutritional information is food label (Wiles et al., 2009).
defines food label as “any written, printed or graphic matter that is presented
on the label, accompanies the food or is displayed near the food, including
that for the purpose of promoting its sale or disposal”
Food labels provide
comprehensive information regarding type of ingredients and additives of a food
product and also communicate the consumers about the nutritional properties and
health claims( WHO, 2004).
of Food Labels:
The food labels play an important role in
lowering the incidence of non-communicable diseases by providing accurate and
adequate information which promotes healthy food choices (Koen et al., 2016). Another study
revealed that the food labels have an impact on consumer’s healthy dietary
practices and good choices regarding purchasing (Klaus et al., 2007).
In recent years, food
purchasing has become difficult task for the consumer as they have limited time
and they want to make best out of it, food label helps them in making wise decision regarding choice
and quality of food products (Prinsloo et al., 2012).
Another study revealed,
food label facilitate consumers to classify the food products on the basis of
their nutritive value and caloric content in order to promote their health(Kerr,
of nutritional knowledge on the use of food labels:
The food labels on the
pre packaged foods act as a medium for the communicating the information to the
consumers. Good understanding of the food labels is based on the perceived
nutritional information(Lisa M et al., 2015).
In a research related
to the influence of nutritional knowledge (E Carillo, 2012) investigated the
association between the nutritional knowledge and understanding of food labels,
results showed that the food purchasing practices of the people with low
nutritional knowledge are not influenced by the information on food labels.
A cross- sectional
study was conducted in India on 1832 consumers to examine the consumer
knowledge and use of food labels, results demonstrated that 90%of the consumers
read food label but one third check nutrition information because some of them
were deficient in nutritional knowledge and some found difficulty in
interpreting the technical terms (Sudershan et al., 2014).
Nutrition knowledge is
positively associated with the comprehension of the information available on
the food labels. Good nutritional knowledge should be practiced while making
decisions about specific food product to buy that in turn is beneficial and
healthy for the consumer (Talagala et al., 2016)
Perception towards food Labels:
The good perception
towards food label denotes how the consumer observes/view a food label. The
basis of perception is not similar and varies among purchasers on the basis of
health and diet related attitudes such as nutritional knowledge, race, gender, age,
income and body mass index (Rodolfo et al., 2015).
Age is one factor that
has undesirable effect on the both subjective and objective understanding of
food labels. Income level also effects the perception. Consumers with low
income level perceive the pre packaged food products to be healthier without
reading and understanding the food labels then middle and high income consumers
(Manchin et al., 2016). Good perception is found to be positively associated
with the sensory acceptability and purchasing behavior regarding a food product
Consumer perceive brand
and cost as the prominent feature of pre packaged food product(Sharp, 2010).Another
study reported that the most considered components in the food labels are
expiration date, nutrition information and product ingredients (Glorie, 2013).
Understanding of nutritional knowledge and
acquaintance with food labels are positively associated with the constructive
perception of the food labels ( Liu et al., 2015).
to be considered while reading food labels:
Consumers see the food labels for multiple
reasons but first they should understand the information on the labels more
precisely. Wise understanding about food labels is ultimately beneficial for
the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases aas the pre-packaged and processed foods are considerably high in sodium, sugar,
additives, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol etc and thus contribute as
causing factor for NCDs such as different cancers, Hypertension, Type 2
diabetes, Chronic Kidney disease, Cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis etc
(Koen et al., 2016).
According to Food and Drug Act, after viewing the
date of expiration, the consumer must consider the following key points.
size of a product indicates that how much total servings are there in the whole
packaged product as well as the amount of the product recommended for the
Individual use and its size is usually defined in standard Cups or Grams
amount. It is important to consider serving size on the food labels because it
serves as the Base for all the Nutritional values of a packaged product.
is important to check that how much calories are provided by different
nutrients in the food product. Caloric values are also based on serving size of
that product, If two servings of a product may be consumed it means that double
calories are consumed.
Nutrients that should be considered in minimum amount:
are some nutrients such as Sodium, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sugar
and other additives in the packaged food products that have adverse health
effects on the consumers so they should be considered in minimum amount in
order to avoid the risk of developmentof NCDs.
Nutrients that should be considered in Ample amount:
nutrients such as Calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber etc
are beneficial for the individual’s health and thus their ample amount should
be considered in order to maintain or improve the health of individuals.
Daily Value (% DV):
shows that what percentage of nutrients should be present in 1 serving of food
product and also simply indicates that
whether the product is high or low in specific nutrient. If specific nutrients
% DV is equal or less than 5 it indicates that nutrient is low in that product
and if the % DV is equal or greater than 20 then it means that product is high
in that nutrient( FDA, 2013).
consideration of such silent information present on the food labels plays an
important role in making decisions regarding healthy food choices and dietary
practices (Lisa M et al., 2015).
food labels should provide accurate and understandable information as it is a valuable
tool effects the consumer’s dietary behaviour and attitudes (Josephine, 2014).
should be simpler enough to understand, and should be visually clear what it
is. Understanding the labels is not just about knowledge and information,
people also needs to be familiar with the technical terminologies (Sirieix et
Use of food labels by female
studies based on the data from collected from the college surveys in USA, UK ,
Canada and South Korea revealed that females are more likely to use food labels
than males as they are more health conscious and give more importance to
healthy eating, nutritional content of the food products and their
self-efficacy (Mary et al., 2015).
Female students read the food labels more
frequently to assess the brand name, its price and expiration date. Most of
them pay more attention to Caloric content rather than other nutrients in order
to control their body weight (Chung et al., 2016).
From the previous researches it is revealed
that there is a gap between the food labels understanding and its correct
practices regarding pre-packaged food choices among College/ universities
female students. The current study may benefit in order to give an insight of
female students food labels understanding and its practical implementation in
purchasing pre-packaged foods in order to promote healthful dietary practices.