|Published online: March 28, 2014||$US5.00|
The United States is facing a serious problem: over the past generation, there has been a steady increase in the size of the average American and the rate of obesity is at an all-time high. Although there are a number of causes that can be attributed to this increase, one is a poor overall diet. Because many consumers are beginning to change to a more nutritious diet, food corporations have begun marketing unhealthy foods as healthy by labeling them as “organic,” “whole grain,” or any combination of other health-related buzzwords. Using manipulated food packaging, this article presents the results of a study examining the degree to which consumers link those marketing terms with health. Results suggest that consumers have a heavy association between those marketing terms and health and tend to think the products containing those words are healthier than those products without them. Furthermore, consumers perform poorly when asked to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy nutritional labels. The implications of this are profound: while many individuals may be trying to increase the health of their diets, food marketers are taking advantage of them by misleading those consumers with deceptive labeling.
|Keywords:||Food Marketing, Food Labeling|
Assistant Professor, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA