As people’s lives keep getting busier every passing day, healthy eating becomes an afterthought. In interest to keep self fuelled up, people to lean on convenient, seemingly healthy food. One such food item that makes a top contender in this list - breakfast cereals
Breakfast cereals are incredibly popular among consumers for being convenient, filling and healthy – despite nutritionists and health practitioners continuously warning people of their shortcomings and unhealthy nutrient contents. A recent study tried examining this.
The study that was published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing thoroughly examined the claims printed on these cereal boxes. The study said that the people pick up these seemingly healthy cereal boxes because they claim to be ‘low fat’ or ‘sugar-free’ despite devoid of any nutritional value. It is mandated by government bodies to print complete nutrition information on the packaging of every commercially available food product.
It is mandated by government bodies to print complete nutrition information on the packaging of every commercially available food product. But as one would expect, consumers rarely flip the boxes to look at the nutritional values and get lured on by the marketing gimmicks itself. The paper titled, "Healthy Through Presence or Absence, Nature or Science?: A Framework For Understanding Front-of-Package Food Claims" contained an analysis of four different studies. The researchers looked at the differences between the breakfast cereal nutrition claims and the brands' actual nutritional content. They also analyzed how consumers reacted to these claims while making buying decisions. They found that these claims by individual products rarely reflected the actual ingredients of the cereals and also were not true to their claims of weight loss or other aspects of health.
"Food products claim to be healthy in many ways, but prior research has investigated these claims at either the macro level (using broad descriptions such as "healthy" or "tasty") or the micro level (using single claims such as "low fat")...They find that claim type is completely uncorrelated to actual nutrition quality yet influences inferences consumers make about taste, healthiness, and dieting" Talking about consumer buying habits, the authors said, "Despite the lack of association between claim type and objective nutritional quality, consumers expect claim type to be a strong predictor of the healthiness, taste, and dieting properties of breakfast cereals."
So how do you figure if your breakfast cereal is healthy? Flip them over!