Are nutrient-content claims always effective? Match-up effects between product type and claim type in food advertising

Hojoon Choi

University of Georgia

Hye-Jin Paek

Hanyang Univerity

Karen Whitehill King

University of Georgia

Introduction

Obesity is a serious health problem in the United States, and has been for several decades (Kim & Willis 2007). Although many factors contribute to this problem, advertising for unhealthy food products is identified as one culprit across gender and age (Young 2003; Hoek & Gendall 2006; Ambler 2007; Harker et al. 2007; Roberts & Pettigrew 2007). While advertising for high-sugar, high-fat and low-nutrient food products is prevalent, ads can also influence people’s dietary habits in positive ways by promoting healthier and more nutritious food products (Freimuth et al. 1988; Parker 2003). Indeed, it has been reported that consumers rely not only on physicians and nutritionists but also on food ads for obtaining health-related information (Chandra et al. 2005). Thus, food marketers have recently promoted more nutritious food products in their food advertisements.